Loves, since yesterday I haven’t been able to disassociate love from food, so I’m going to talk about it again. Just warning you.
I love marshmallows. They are puffy and squishy, bright clumps of joy. Biting into a marshmallow is sticky and sweet, hard to do without smiling.
I’ve loved marshmallows as long as I can remember. When I was little, a toddler at most, my older sister used to babysit us younger ones. And when we were good, she would take us to the pantry, and tell us not to tell Mom and Dad as she fed us marshmallows as rewards. I reveled in those moments, and recall them lovingly even now, the sweet moments with my big sister filled with sugar and the knowledge that she was proud of me, that she had noticed me. I never ever disobeyed my big sister, she was the most perfect person to me.
Growing up I often went picnicking and camping in the woods and mountains by my home. Those times were not complete without the search for just the right sticks, that we sharpened with rocks and skewered with marshmallows, setting them aflame and devouring the gooey goodness with glee. In summer the smoke drove away the mosquitoes, in fall the chill. Everyone had a different opinion on the proper way to toast the marshmallow, but I loved most setting mine on fire, till the marshmallow outside was nothing but an inflated charred shell, inside which there was a small lump of melted sugar. Sometimes, the marshmallow even made it to a graham cracker and chocolate bed to become a s’more, but not often. I just loved them so.
My other sister developed a way of toasting marshmallows inside the house. She would light candles, and put the marshmallows on chopsticks. Our parents would often wonder why some chopsticks had burn marks a centimeter or so from the tip. I loved those times too.
In the winters my family would make fudge as thank you’s to teachers, coaches, friends, family, anyone who had been a part of our lives during the year. The final step of the fudge we made was stirring in a tub of marshmallow creme, and we took turns beating the thick candy mess, until my mother took over and completed the process with powerful, practiced strokes. But she could never get all the marshmallow goop from the plastic tub, and my sisters and I delighted in scraping up what was left with eager spoons into even more eager mouths. I still remember the joy of feeding each other when one of us got a particularly good spoonful.
My love for marshmallows has remained constant over the years, though my adult self does not take as well to sugar as my child self. Even when I’m down, I still can’t help but smile when I eat a marshmallow. I think my sisters conditioned me that way. Now I’m the adult feeding marshmallows to my sister’s children, instilling the same love in them that she gave to me. Because that is what marshmallows are to me, my sisters’ love, my love, and our shared love, for marshmallows.