Wednesday, December 08, 2004


A marshmallow is a type of confection that, in its modern form, consists of sugar or corn syrup, beaten egg whites, gelatin that has been pre-softened in water, gum arabic and flavorings, whipped to a spongy consistency. The traditional recipe used an extract from the mucilaginous root of the marshmallow, a shrubby herb (Althaea officinalis), instead of gelatin; the mucilage performed as a cough suppressant.
Commercial marshmallows are a late 19th century innovation. Since Alex Doumak's patented extrusion process of 1948, marshmallows are extruded as soft cylinders, cut in sections and rolled in a mix of finely powdered cornstarch and confectioner's sugar.
Most commercial marshmallows are unsuitable for strict vegetarians, since the gelatin used is almost universally derived from animal sources.
Marshmallows are popular with children and adults alike, and can be eaten with or without accompaniments. In Thanksgiving, marshmallows are often placed on top of a dish of candied sweet potatoes. By far the most popular places to find marshmallows are as roast marshmallows, in jello salads, in Rice Krispies treats and in s'mores. Rice Krispies are a puffed rice breakfast cereal that are combined with melted marshmallows, produce a crunchy, sweet bar. S'mores are traditionally made by cooking a marshmallow over an open fire, especially a campfire, and then placing it with chocolate between graham crackers. Marshmallows are also often added to hot chocolate or café mocha (mochachino). Marshmallow is an ingredient of Mallomars


fairy tale is a story, either told to children or as if told to children, concerning the adventures of mythical characters such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, giants, and others. The fairy tale is a sub-class of the folktale. These stories often involve princes and princesses, and modern versions usually have a happy ending. In cultures where demons and witches are perceived as real, fairy tales may merge into legendary narratives, where the context is perceived by teller and hearers as having historical actuality.
The original fairy tales were for adults who believed in fairies. They were often brief, and tied to a specific time and place. The story had no moral lesson. Rather, they read like a sighting or local news to the superstitious folk. They were passed orally from generation to generation, not written down. The tales often had sad endings; such was the penalty for dealing with the fairy folk.
Later fairy tales were about princes and pricesses, combat, adventure, society, and romance. Fairies had a secondary role. Moral lessons and happy endings were more common, and the villain was always punished. In the modern era, fairy tales were altered, usually with violence removed, so they could be read to children.
Sometimes fairy tales are simply miraculous entertainments, but often they are disguised morality tales. This is true for the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale Collection, and much of the drily witty, dead-pan, social criticism beneath the surface of Hans Christian Andersen's tales, which influenced Roald Dahl.