Sweet, melt-in-your-mouth, chewy goodness. They make their way to nearly every gathering 'round a campfire. And while nobody knows for certain who invented the S'more, the first published recipe for "Some Mores" was in a 1927 publication titled Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts, and Loretta Scott Crew received credit for the recipe. S'mores, for many, are a summer staple--a ritual of childhood, made famous (for those of us who grew up in the late 80s/early 90s) by the 1993 coming of age classic, The Sandlot.
First you take the graham...next stick the chocolate on the graham...then you roast the mallow. And you know how the rest goes. These three simple treats when combined make a truly delicious campfire dessert. Five years ago, when we first discovered our son's food allergies, I was forced to start paying closer attention to the ingredients in the "simple treats" I had been enjoying for years. When I first began reading labels it was enlightening and empowering, but it also ruined a number of these treats for me, as there was just no way for me to feel good about the ingredients in them. While knowledge is power, it also comes with a level of responsibility that can sometimes feel daunting. If I'm being 100% honest, I sometimes miss the days of simply not caring. Yet, that feeling doesn't last long when I look around and see so many people living with illness and dis-ease states that have been shown to be greatly impacted by lifestyle, specifically diet.
Take the ingredient list from a typical S'more, for instance. The Kraft jet puffed marshmallow, the Nabisco graham cracker, and the Hershey's chocolate bar. They seem so simple, so innocent, yet the ingredients tell a different story:
CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, DEXTROSE, MODIFIED CORNSTARCH, WATER, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF GELATIN, TETRASODIUM PYROPHOSPHATE (WHIPPING AID), NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, BLUE 1, UNBLEACHED ENRICHED FLOUR, GRAHAM FLOUR, SUGAR, SOYBEAN OIL, HONEY, LEAVENING (BAKING SODA AND/OR CALCIUM PHOSPHATE), SALT, SOY LECITHIN, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, AND MILK CHOCOLATE (SUGAR, MILK, CHOCOLATE, COCOA BUTTER, LACTOSE, MILK FAT, SOY LECITHIN, PGPR, EMULSIFIER, VANILLIN, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR).
Now obviously I understand S'mores are not a meal; they're a dessert. However, what frustrates me the most is the why. Why do these ingredients need to be in marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate in the first place? We know that each of those products can be made differently, with better ingredients. In fact, at Simply Nourished we've sourced all 3 of these treats from companies that do not use artificial flavors and colors, additives like PGPR, soybean oil, etc. As consumers, we play a role in shaping the food industry. Sure, there is a lot of greed and corruption involved. Sure, manufacturers will probably always make cheap food with food additives and food alternatives (artificial flavors and colors). However, some manufacturers will change. Some will listen to the voices of the consumers. In fact, we've seen companies make some pretty big shifts in the last few years in response to consumers. So we must keep raising our concerns. We must keep voting with our dollars. If you have never spent time reading labels, I'd challenge you to start. Find out what is in your food--your kids' food, your grandkids' food. You might be surprised by what you find.
And, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, our team at Simply Nourished loves taking the time to help our customers sort through the confusing information and mixed messages surrounding food. We've put in hours of time researching and sourcing products for our store to make your label-reading process easier, to meet our customers' individual dietary needs. We are currently open Tuesday through Friday 10AM to 6PM and Saturdays 10AM to 4PM. Stop in. We'd love to help.