By Nancy Price
For many of us, the fall season often stirs up memories of huddling around the campfire with friends and family while roasting hot dogs and marshmallows and listening to scary urban legend stories.
Three Southside natives have created a way to relive that nostalgia – by publishing a book of s’more recipes. Franklin Township sisters Alena VanArendonk, Laura VanArendonk Baugh and their friend Julie Bickel recently published S’moregasbord: 101 Novel S’more Recipes to Try.
“Campfires and firepits are an easy way to be together while also providing an opportunity for social distance,” said Bickel. “Toast a marshmallow and back up a few feet to let someone else have a
turn. It’s a great way to hang out while also being safe.”
“And let’s face it; if there was a year for carbs, it’s 2020,” added VanArendonk Baugh. “Let’s embrace the silver lining.”
For the past few years, the authors experimented with various types of food combinations to create their own s’more recipes. “When we found a variation we really liked, we’d joke, ‘This is so good, we should write a cookbook!’” VanArendonk recalled. “This summer, since all our social activities had to held outdoors due to the pandemic, we decided that the time was right to share our s’mores innovations with the rest of the world.”
“Some of the ‘research’, if you could call it that, involved brainstorming ideas and throwing out flavor combinations with friends – a bit like throwing wet spaghetti on the wall and seeing what stuck,” Bickel added. “Some of the ideas didn’t really pan out. We tried to make a couple of ‘adult’ s’mores where we
added whiskey or brandy to the marshmallow. That may have been a tasty notion, but these ended up dissolving the marshmallows into puddles of goo!”
Ingredients that did work, to the amazement of the authors, included Stilton cheese, jalapeno jelly, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and raspberries. “For me, the most surprising combination was a s’more made with potato chips and chocolate-dipped bacon,” said VanArendonk. “I don’t even care for potato chips normally, but that recipe really brings out the sweet-salty contrast.”
Paperback books are available for purchase from $17-20 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or independent bookstores. Ebooks are also available at Amazon and temporarily in a PDF format at lauravanarendonkbaugh.com/shop/
“It’ a great gift, with beautiful photos and a fun theme. And it’s got chocolate (and s’mores without
chocolate, for my allergic friends,” said VanArendonk Baugh.