Camp Fire’s Delicious History
August 10th is National S’mores Day, so get out your skewers, stoke those coals and settle in for a little Camp Fire history. (A disputed history, but history nonetheless.) Camp Fire has long claimed bragging rights for the creation of this unbelievably incredible triad of perfection, but the Girl Scouts also have some convincing proof — S’Mores reportedly first popped up in print in a 1927 Girl Scouts handbook. Still, multiple oral history accounts make a strong case for S’mores originating with Camp Fire Girls soon after their founding in 1910. Regardless of which organization’s foremothers first sandwiched caramelized marshmallow and chocolate bars between Graham crackers, we know this: S’mores were invented by some very forward thinking, innovative and adventurous young women.
Make your own:
- You know what to do: Roast that marshmallow, stack that chocolate, crunch the Graham.
- Go upscale with these “fancy” s’mores from Love and Lemons
- Combine all your grade-school favorites with PB&J S’mores from PureWow
- Or branch out with these riffs and variations from The Food Network.
Don’t stop with S’mores: Another cookout classic has Camp Fire roots: That addictive combo of crunch and squish that had you licking your fingers at every childhood cookout. Yep, we’re talking about Rice Krispy Treats, popularized in the ‘30s as an innovative Camp Fire fundraiser.
According to the Des Moines Register (with some date corrections from cookbook author Matt Lewis’s extra krisp investigative reporting in The Awl), Kellogg’s Mildred Day and Malitta Jensen created the classic Rice Krispies Treat recipe in the 1930s while riffing on an old molasses and puffed wheat concoction. The new recipe got its official debut in Kansas City in 1932, after Camp Fire called Kelloggs asking for fundraising ideas. Day brought the Rice Krispie Treat recipe — and some industrial-sized cooking gear — to KC, where she churned out trays of gooey goodness for Camp Fire Girls to sell door-to-door. Rice Krispie Treats have been a favorite of campers and councils ever since, having secured their sweetly sticky place in Camp Fire history.
Make your own:
- The classic Rice Krispy Treats recipe
- Caramelized brown butter and chocolate and pretzel versions by The New York Times Cooking
- Salted brown butter version by Smitten Kitchen
- Brown butter & bourbon, cake batter, and coconut oil versions by Gimme Some Oven
- Chocolate peanut butter version by Cookie and Kate
- A whole host of cereal-and-marshmallow options from Martha Stewart if you really want to get wild
- And (how appropriate!) vegan-option S’mores Rice Krispie Treats from Minimalist Baker