Who Invented S’Mores? A Sweet History

It is widely accepted that S’mores dates back to a 1927 publication by the Girl Scouts. This delightful blend of toast marshmallow filling, chunks of chocolate, and crisp Graham crackers has become a culinary emblem of American campfires and convivial gatherings.

Who Invented S’mores?

Loretta Scott Crew is often cited for sharing the original recipe, which quickly gained popularity.

The simplicity of the S’more, requiring just a roasted marshmallow and a segment of a chocolate bar sandwiched between two Graham crackers, made it an instant hit.

What is the Origin of the S’mores?

The origin of S’mores harkens back to the campfire traditions of the early 20th century. These gatherings, promoted by organizations like the Girl Scouts, popularized the act of toasting marshmallows and creating this tasty treat.

The beloved cracker used in S’mores draws its name from its creator, Reverend Sylvester Graham, a preacher and health enthusiast who advocated for a vegetarian diet, including products made from unsifted whole wheat flour.

Is S’mores an American Thing?

S’mores are an American tradition. They’ve transcended their simple beginnings to become a symbol of outdoor leisure and childhood nostalgia. Closely tied to the famous flaked cereal line innovators like John Harvey Kellogg and the candy companies capitalizing on America’s sweet tooth, S’mores are a product of American innovation and cultural appetite.

Interestingly, similar treats like the British ‘moon pie’ and the Americana ‘moon pie’ share the core concept but have evolved separately.

When Were S’mores Invented?

The term “S’mores” first appeared in the 1920s with the Girl Scouts publication, although eating gooey marshmallows and warm chocolate sandwiched between Graham cracker cookies may predate this.

The modern milk chocolate bar used today was made possible by the fusion of Henri Nestle’s and Peter’s companies that eventually merged, which allowed chocolate to be cheap enough for most penny candy selections.

Graham Cracker’s Historical Context

The graham cracker was initially developed as part of a health movement by Reverend Graham, who included whole wheat flour in his recipe. Later, this health-conscious base for the S’mores was combined with the decadence of chocolate.

Nestlé chocolate bars and other candy companies furthered the treat’s reach by recommending their products for S’mores, adapting the vegetarian Graham cracker into a beloved cracker for a quintessentially American treat.

William Henry Gibson’s Contributions to S’mores

William Henry Gibson, a lesser-known figure in the history of S’mores, contributed to this treat’s widespread enjoyment by refining the Graham crackers’ production process. His advancements allowed for the mass production of the beloved Graham cracker cookies.

Not directly connected to Gibson himself, these advancements helped turn a portion of healthy food into a mainstream sweet treat. As a result, Graham crackers became more accessible and, thus, more commonly used as the crunchy base for the emerging S’mores recipe.

The Evolution of the Marshmallow in S’mores

Today, the marshmallow, once a confection made from the sap of the marshmallow plant mixed with egg whites and corn syrup, has evolved into the puffy modern marshmallow. This versatile ingredient caramelizes into a crisp, gooey state, the key to the perfect S’more texture.

As the years have passed, S’mores have transcended their roots, charting a course from the campgrounds to gourmet kitchens, where chefs have taken the classic recipe and infused it with new life. The essential ingredients—Graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows—have been experimented with and transformed.

The Role Chocolate Plays in S’mores

Chocolate is integral to the allure of S’mores, with the plain chocolate bar initially being the staple. However, the popularity of the modern milk chocolate bar has made it the preferred choice for many.

The ability of the chocolate to melt under the heat of a toasted marshmallow, resulting in warm chocolate pieces that bond the ingredients together, is intrinsic to the experience.

Similar Snacks Around the World

While the S’more reigns supreme as a campfire favorite, various cultures have also embraced the fusion of similar ingredients, creating signature snacks that echo the S’more’s delightful combination of textures and flavors.

In the United Kingdom, the beloved ‘biscuit sandwich’ often features chocolate and marshmallow-like fillings nestled between two digestive biscuits, a nod to the British penchant for tea-time confections.

Across the globe in South Korea, ‘Choco Pies’ resonate with the S’more’s spirit, consisting of marshmallow fluff encased in soft cake and coated in a thin layer of chocolate.

Moving over to France, the ‘bûche de guimauve’ translates the S’more’s essence into elegant marshmallow logs, sometimes dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut flakes, revealing the French flair for patisserie.

Scandinavia offers ‘Kvikk Lunsj,’ a chocolate-covered biscuit reminiscent of a deconstructed S’more ready for on-the-go snacking.

Even within the United States, regional variations like the ‘Whoopie Pie’ from New England pay homage to the classic S’more structure with two soft, cake-like cookies embracing a fluffy, marshmallow-inspired cream.

The Sweet Journey from Campfire to Culture

The journey of the S’more from a simple camping snack to an iconic tasty treat demonstrates the rich cultural fabric of American food traditions.

From the Girl Scouts spreading the word in “Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts” to Loretta Scott Crew’s recipe, kindling widespread joy, the story of S’mores is a testament to the ingenuity and simplicity of comfort food.

Whether enjoyed between slices of Graham cracker, squeezed beside a chocolate bar sandwich, or even experimented with lemon curd or a piece of mint chocolate, the S’more remains a cherished component of American cuisine and culture.

References

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.31822031036296&seq=31

https://www.newspapers.com/article/the-birmingham-news-scout-troop-letters/107356005/

https://www.entrepreneur.com/living/the-seriously-unsexy-origins-of-the-graham-cracker/252725

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