For a photograph to make it to the cover of a magazine about "gracious living"—which one would think ought to mean showing kindness and impeccable manners but which apparently means doing a lot of decorating—it has to be perfectly posed and lighted. The one I noticed this week on the cover of Martha Stewart Living was no exception.
The picture didn't show a retouched celebrity or a gorgeous model. It was a s'more. The chocolate was perfectly placed. The melted marshmallow oozed symmetrically over the sides of the graham cracker. The graham cracker itself, though, was what made this s'more so exceptional. It had a star cut through its exact center, so the delicately browned marshmallow goop was artistically exposed.
I noticed this creative bit of campfire cuisine while I was in the checkout line at Safeway. My 11-year-old granddaughters and I were buying food, s'mores ingredients and all, for a camping trip. Bright girls that they are, the twins had the same response to Martha's s'mores as I did. Our view was:
A. How in the world could you cut a star through a graham cracker without breaking the whole thing into inartistic crumbs?
B. Why in the world would you want to put a hole in the cracker in the first place? The whole point of the graham crackers in a s'more is to keep the gooiness of the melted chocolate and marshmallow contained so most of it goes into your mouth instead of dripping all over your shirt and oozing down your chin.
Perhaps the answers to these questions were provided in the article. Since I didn't buy the magazine, I may never know.
Creating an elegant display with food so it appeals to the eye as well as the taste buds is an art. Just because I have no talent in that direction doesn't mean I don't appreciate it.
But some classic foods are best left alone. S'mores aren't meant to be "gracious living." They belong in the sticky hands of enthusiastic, underage amateurs where the only decorating involved consists of random patterns of marshmallow goo and chocolate drips on their tee-shirts.
When it comes to campfire desserts, less is s'more.