The U.S. Forest Service on Friday published a nearly 700-word article on how to safely roast marshmallows, all in preparation for Saturday, which is National Roasted Marshmallow Day.
As one might expect, the article is riddled with safety tips that might make you think twice about even carrying matches into the forest at all, let alone actually igniting a marshmallow and putting your family's life at risk.
"First, let’s talk safety," the article says. "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."
It also warns that children should be given a stern talking-to before any of the "fun" begins.
"Some experts advocate a 10-foot rule between young children and a campfire," it reads. "For more information about campfire safety, let Smokey Bear guide you."
Finally, the article gets down to "marshmallow basics," and starts by recommending the use of a roasting stick "of at least 30 inches." That's two and a half feet, or about half as long or more as the children roasting the marshmallows.
The article doesn't recommend a maximum length for a roasting stick.
The Forest Service admits that most people use roasted marshmallows to make s'mores, and even offers detailed instructions for making one. But it then suggests ways to make s'mores healthy.
"Think fruit," it suggests without any hint that it's joking around.
"Grill thin slices of pineapple and substitute chocolate for the sweet, warm fruit," it reads. "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."
It offers several other ideas, a possible sign that even the U.S. Forest Service has been caught up in First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign.
"Grab a small bag of chocolate or peanut butter chips – or a combination of the two," it says. "Take a banana and slice one side open, exposing the fruit but leaving the peel intact. Slice the banana, add a few chocolate chips then top with tiny marshmallows. Or substitute the chips for blueberries from the local farmer’s market. Place the banana in aluminum foil and wrap tightly. Place the foil-wrapped fruit next to but not on the flames. Wait five to 10 minutes or enough time for the chips and marshmallows to melt. Open and enjoy with a spoon."
And if a whole marshmallow is a little too much for your overweight kids, the article suggests scrapping the whole idea of roasting marshmallows, and instead using marshmallow creme out of a jar.
"Put a piece of fruit on a roasting stick, dip quickly in the crème and roast over indirect heat until a delicious golden brown," it says. "You're still having campfire fun, but the focus is on a healthier evening snack."