I’m not a camper.
I’m a by-the-lake lounger and campfire-conversation lover, but the logistics of the tents and the endless battle against mosquitos and dirt keep me out of any sort of real camping club.
Yet once a summer I make lists, borrow my dad’s oversized pickup, and spend a weekend of fun with my best friend and her family in the woods – woods that are less than an hour from our house and less than ten minutes from a giant, open-all-night store, but still, the woods.
Friday morning began with rain. Friday afternoon brought more rain. We slid in tent stakes between raindrops and turned on the grill and crossed our fingers that the clouds would stay at bay at least until the kids were nestled into their respective tents.
Requests for s’mores begin well before dusk danced around us. The rain hadn’t dampened the kids’ enthusiasm. They only cared that it was no longer raining, without concern for the storms waiting patiently for a gust of wind to introduce more rain into our evening.
But camping involves a lot of preparation, a load of commitment, and a bit of faith, so we started the fire and gathered the roasting sticks and pulled out the arsenal of supplies all campers know so well.
Only the oldest of the four friends had much interest in roasting his own marshmallows. He gleefully pushed them too close to the flames, liking them burnt to a blackened crisp the rest of the kids wouldn’t touch.
The girls stood for a moment, unsure of the fire, laughing at their efforts before fading back to small camper’s chairs to wait for their spoils. My baby, impossibly bigger than I remember some days, was more concerned with the number of marshmallows he could get away with eating than the method that browned them warm enough to eat without burning his mouth.
In another lifetime I worried about creating the perfect roasted marshmallow: golden, toasted, capable of melting solid chocolate into creamy deliciousness without scalding the roof of my mouth.
But with rain threatening on the horizon and four kids squeezing in just one more taste of sugar before bed, I finally understood that s’mores are perfect in their very imperfection: the way that each time you bite into that little square sandwich you taste something different, something sweet, and something you might never taste exactly that way again.
Find your s’mores – fun variations on a classic treat!
Cinnamon graham crackers
Chocolate with caramel inside (we used Ghirardelli Milk and Chocolate SQUARES)
(for an extra twist, add a green apple slice between the chocolate and the graham)
Peanut Butter Pals
Honey graham crackers
Mini peanut butter cups