Sunday, September 7, 2014

House Majority Leader Upset with U.S. Forest Service Over Fruit S'mores Suggestions

(Blueberry S'mores)
It was National Roasted Marshmallow Day on August 30th. In honor of that day, the U.S. Forest Service posted a blog article about s'mores -- specifically what they are (chocolate and freshly roasted marshmallows sandwiched between two graham crackers) and the history of s'mores (basically unknown -- but first recorded in a 1927 Girl Scouts Handbook).

But then the U.S. Forest Service pissed off political conservatives by offering suggestions for making s'mores safely:
Never start a campfire when there are fire restrictions in place. The restrictions are put in place for your safety and for the safety of others. If campfires are allowed, use an existing fire ring or pit. Be sure you are at least 15 feet from tent walls, trees or other flammable objects.

Most importantly, ensure you work closely with children and talk to them about fire danger, proper behavior and rules – then expect nothing less. No one knows how many children are burned in campfire incidents; however, you don’t need statistics to know precaution is a key to great camping experiences. Some experts advocate a 10-foot rule between young children and a campfire. For more information about campfire safety, let Smokey Bear guide you.

Now, let’s get to the marshmallow basics. Use a roasting stick of at least 30 inches in length. The degree a marshmallow is roasted runs the gamut, from the barely cooked, light caramel-colored outer layer to the flaming marshmallow that contains a gooey interior wrapped by a crispy, blackened shell. From there, most people graduate to s’mores and rarely move on.
They also offered some suggestions for using healthier food substitutes (i.e., fruit) for chocolate:
Even if the kids – including us older ones – insist on more traditional s’mores, there are some healthy tricks. Grill thin slices of pineapple and substitute chocolate for the sweet, warm fruit. You will still get a tasty treat but by substituting with fruit, it is healthier – as long as you watch the amount of marshmallows used. If you want to cut down even more on calories, try using slices of angel food cake instead of graham crackers.
The U.S. Forest Service also suggested substituting marshmallow creme instead of actual marshmallows in order to better regulate food portions, as well as a couple other healthy snack options.

That blog post reads about as dictatorial as any cookbook, but leave it to political conservatives to invent scandal whenever possible. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy sent a memo to all House GOP members this past Thursday expressing outrage over this extreme example of governmental overreach:
“I don’t know if you caught this, but last Friday the Forest Service published an article about how to roast marshmallows. Tips included using a roasting stick of at least 30 inches in length and substituting fruit for the chocolate and slices of angel food cake for graham crackers,” McCarthy wrote... 

"This perfectly captures what is wrong with our government. Hard-earned tax dollars supporting bureaucrats who can’t pass up an opportunity to tell us how to live our lives,” McCarthy continues. “For the things that government is supposed to do – like confront terrorist groups – we don’t have a strategy, but for things Americans are supposed to be able to do for themselves – like figuring out the best ingredients for s’mores – government bureaucrats have that figured out.”
Because forest rangers have everything to do with fighting terrorists on foreign soil.

Fox News Contributor Todd Starnes implies that forest rangers will now be personally inspecting each and everyone of your s'mores and sending violators to Obamacare death panels for review. I exaggerate a bit, but so does he.

Keep in mind that there are cookbook suggestions for fruit-laced s'mores already out there. And none of there were written by government employees. You heard me correctly -- private industry  bastardized the s'more long before the U.S. Forest Service ever posted that article!

Here's the deal. You can make your s'mores however you want. These aren't sacred food items. If you want to make a traditional s'more with chocolate and marshmallows, go for it. If you want to substitute fruit or other food items, go for it. If you want to make a traditional s'more and then spike up the nutritional badness by stacking on additional layers of one ingredient or another, go for it. It's really not that big a deal.

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