While out on a leisurely Sunday drive, I stumbled upon this field of marshmallows, which sparked me to do research into this wildly popular delicacy.
Marshmallows (scientific name bog victa – meaning marsh food) were first discovered near Stonehenge, aligned as a perfect replica of the famous artifact. Domesticated in the bogs of Ireland, marshmallows were introduced to the Americas through European contact in the late 15th century, eventually spreading to the rest of the world due to their ability to thrive in diverse climates.
A hearty crop, they can grow as large as 10 feet tall by 15 feet long. Using highly sophisticated, technical machinery, they are cut to the size you see in stores. Because of their tacky, pliable texture, cutting is the most difficult part of the harvesting process.
In their natural state, marshmallows are white with no added flavoring. They have since been genetically modified and are available in a variety of colors and flavors including cinnamon bun, gingerbread, strawberry and chocolate. Most people don’t know this, but Peeps were a failed attempt to improve upon the marshmallow. Surprisingly, Peeps survived in their own right.
Experts disagree whether marshmallows are considered to be candy. The confusion stems from the fact that they are found in the baking section rather than the candy aisle. A common staple among bakers, they’re used to make Rice Krispie bars, S’mores and other sugary goodies. People have been known to eat them right out of the bag as well.
For a while, marshmallows were represented by a mascot – the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. However, the relationship turned sour when he went on an unexplained monstrous rampage. Some suspected a GMO gone awry. After that, marshmallow manufacturers distanced themselves from the beast. Here’s some rare footage of the grisly scene.
Fortunately the industry survived the ugly scandal and marshmallows, produced on local farms, are still as popular as ever.
May the farce be with you!