The Flirty New Jersey Origin Of Marshmallow Roasts

Roasting marshmallows has become an integral part of camping. Those who are able to identify the ideal stick for marshmallow roasting, cultivate the perfect fire, understand how to position and rotate the marshmallow above the flames, and take the treat away at just the right moment so that the desired level of roast has been achieved are kings among men.

The very first marshmallows were used as a kind of medicine, less of a gooey ingredient meant for s'mores and more of a lozenge made from root sap, eggs, and sugar that was meant to be consumed for inflammation and constipation, notes Food & Wine

In time, thanks to the French, the candy became a fluffy confection served to the upper class (per All the Whyser). Since boiling plants was expensive and time-consuming, the plant root was replaced with gelatin to produce the treats in bulk. The spongy candies took off, due in part to a series of events organized in American coastal towns.

A fad that never faded

In the late 1800s, talents in the marshmallow-roasting department could land you some serious social capital, as marshmallow roasts were popular events held at resorts along the Jersey shore, per CBC. The roasts were identified by newspapers as prime places to pick up dates since holding marshmallows over a fire was an activity that resulted in sitting or standing close to friends who were also trying to create the perfectly charred piece of candy. At the time, these marshmallow roasts were labeled a fad and were predicted to increase in popularity.

Eating marshmallows off of a stick held by your crush was a fresh idea at the time, admits All the Whyser, and young people jumped at the opportunity to have a new way to get close to love interests. The idea caught on and held on as fast as the stickiest of marshmallows.

If you're yearning to create your own marshmallow magic at home, we have a homemade marshmallow recipe that can bring back some of those nostalgic feelings. We'll leave the flirting part up to you.