Wednesday, March 30, 2005

A Perfect Tangential Vector
Posted by Sam at 3:50 PM

There are few joys in life that can compare to the joys of eating campfire food. Cooking over an open flame, in the middle of the woods, listening to the firewood crackle and pop, being blinded by the smoke that follows you around the campfire no matter where you sit to escape it... ahhh, true bliss. Now, I'm a (half-assed) vegetarian. But, in the woods I'm a full-fledged, unapologetic carnivore. Meat! Fire! How much more primal can you get? None. None more primal. It's a good feeling... but I'm leaving something out. Marshmallows!

Yes, marshmallows. Sugary, squishy, gelatiny, bite-sized, psuedo-cylinders of pure euphoria. Personally, I've always marveled at the patience required to make that perfectly roasted marshmallow. Hovering the marshmallow over the flames, and rotating oh so gently... it's a thing of beauty when done properly. My technique is slightly different, yet no less intricate (yep, I'm that guy). I plunge the marshmallow deep into the belly of the flame. I let the fire engulf the swelling sugar wad. Soon the marshmallow's outer coating ignites and that's when I extract the flaming meteor from the heart of the fire. I let it burn until it's charred and blackened (not unlike my soul). When the fire goes out, I'm left with a bloated, ash-covered exoskeleton. Underneath however, is where the magic lies... scaldingly hot marshmallow magma just waiting to torch the interior of my mouth. I thrust that bad boy in. The marshmallow innards spread like napalm as my taste buds scream with pleasure (or in agony).

The point? Wait... I'm getting there.

Have you ever roasted marshmallows with a campfire newbie? Or, has this ever happened to you... maybe your first time? The marshmallow, atop the marshmallow stick, ignites into a flame ball. The marshmallow stick operator freaks out and starts to wave the stick with the flaming marshmallow around, in a failing attempt to put out the fire... which, in turn, just serves to feed the flame and make it burn hotter and faster. Now, as the flaming marshmallow heats up more rapidly, and the interior loses its solid integrity and becomes a liquid, the waving fire ball of a marshmallow succumbs to centrifugal force as the frictional hold breaks between the stick and marshmallow, launching it in a perfect tangential vector away from the naive operator and into the woods... or worse, your lap.

I've seen this happen a few times and it's always absurdly funny (horribly dangerous and potentially life threatening too... but I think comedy trumps danger in this situation). Now if one could only harness the power of an airborne flaming marshmallow, the world might be a more tolerant place.

Here comes the point... get ready.

Today, at ThinkGeek, I discovered a pneumatic handheld marshmallow launcher. So close! If only there was a marshmallow ignitor attachment, I'd be sold. Still, at the very reasonable price of $25 I might be tempted.

...And that's it. Can you believe that you read this entire entry just for that? Oh... the frustration you must feel. I am so sorry.

Comments: 6 | Post a Comment | Permalink

Sam:
You can get a marshmellow gun at the flea market for like $11!

Comment By Coll on March 30, 2005 8:36 PM

couldnt you just duct tape a creme brulee torch on the barrel? if you get on that, i will use it to make the afore mention confection.

Comment By manuel noriega on March 30, 2005 10:52 PM

I have to say, I'm with Mr. Noriega on this one. Just attach some flaming instrument onto the end of the gun, maybe add a bit of high-proof alcohol to the marshmallow (soak them the night before, mebbe?). That should do the trick.

Also, remember, when campfiring with n00bs, have a fire extinguisher at the ready. And don't forget to laugh at them.

Comment By Blackwatch on March 31, 2005 9:30 AM

Sam,
add this to our list of projects!

http://www.advancedspuds.com/marshmallow.htm

Comment By TheDarkLordDerfla on March 31, 2005 1:29 PM

That was an awesome story. And it's so true because camping is a great joy. I think you should just stick a lighter at the end of the barrel so that it ignites at the end on it's way out. Maybe a little lighter fluid too.

Comment By TPC on March 01, 2006 7:23 PM

You suck

Comment By Anonymous on May 01, 2006 11:26 AM

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Sam Who!?
Sam is an amazing and humble guy. Once, he rushed into a burning building, up six flights of stairs to save a kitten from certain death. He speaks eight languages, has mastered three varieties of martial arts, is a wine expert, and is a pulitzer prize winning author. Sam is an international heart-throb who prefers a quiet evening at home knitting afghans for the homeless, to the go-go, glitz and glamor of the party scene. I think the day he won the silver medal for ballroom dancing at the 98 olympics was the happiest of his life. Pretty impressive for a guy who never finished the 8th grade. - Carrie, 04
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