Saturday, 17 January 2009

Marshmallows: a wobbly bridge to childhood

One good thing about this horrible weather is that it gives a body the opportunity to rediscover the glory of the humble marshmallow. I cannot praise this sweet little number highly enough. Like a duvet that is gossamer-light and heavenly warm, you would think it had been designed specially to put people at their ease.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but there is no such thing as a designer marshmallow. It just doesn’t have the connotations of connoisseurship that, say, chocolate has. Show me a marshmallow snob and I’ll present you to the Queen of Sheba. There is no checking for percentages of cocoa solids, or any of that. You just go to your nearest sweet counter, select a bag of these brightly-coloured candies, and bring them home.

Marshmallows thrive in any temperature, with the minimum of packaging. No need for foil wrapping, or cantilevers of corrugated sheets, or gilt-edged insets bearing the legend of every pretentious confection in the box. Marshmallows come in two colours; basic white and baby pink, gloriously uncomplicated and infinitely infantile, creating a wobbly bridge of memory between you and that long-lost time; childhood.

Marshmallows are very much themselves, unlike those awful ‘jelly’ sweets, they never masquerade as space rockets or sports’ cars. Nope, marshmallows all come in that friendly, tactile shape, warm and comfortable to touch without creating that dreadful, brown drizzle that a too-long held piece of chocolate generates. You just bite into a marshmallow and immediately, you are wrapped in that afore-mentioned duvet of sweetness and light. I hope the cold weather lasts a while, yet.

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