Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Government Overreach One S'more At A Time

If we want to get a sense of the overreach into our lives being sourced from Washington, here is a prime example from the United States Department of Agriculture:

That's right, the USDA is helping us to celebrate National Roasted Marshmallow Day which was on August 30th, in case you missed it and feel a desire to retroactively celebrate the event.

The article goes on to provide taxpayers with a litany of dos and don'ts when in comes to roasting marshmallows.

1.) Never start a campfire when there are fire restrictions in place. The restrictions are put in place for your safety and for the safety of others. If campfires are allowed, use an existing fire ring or pit. Be sure you are at least 15 feet from tent walls, trees or other flammable objects.
2.) Most importantly, ensure you work closely with children and talk to them about fire danger, proper behavior and rules – then expect nothing less. No one knows how many children are burned in campfire incidents; however, you don’t need statistics to know precaution is a key to great camping experiences. Some experts advocate a 10-foot rule between young children and a campfire. For more information about campfire safety, let Smokey Bear guide you.

As if that weren't enough, the author goes on to note that you should be using a stick of at least 30 inches in length, that toasting marshmallows can result in a product that "runs the gamut from the barely cooked, light caramel-colorer outer layer to the flaming marshmallow that contains a gooey interior wrapped by a crispy, blackened shell."  Despite that recommendation, here is a photo of two children roasting marshmallows over an open flame with the younger child holding what might be a 30 inch-long stick in a position that is quite clearly less than 30 inches from the heat source and well within the 10-foot rule guideline noted in section 2 above:

The author then describes several alternatives that will help you, the responsible parent, to supply your children with healthier, less sugary options than the traditional s'mores.  These include using fruit like bananas and blueberries and the author even supplies you with a brief recipe on how to roast a tinfoil-wrapped banana "next to but not on the flames".  

The author concludes by taking all of the fun out of camping by suggesting that parents substitute marshmallow creme for marshmallows so that they can better regulate portion size and then recommends dipping fruit in the concoction and roasting over indirect heat.  As the author says, "You're still having campfire fun, but the focus is on a healthier evening snack.".

The USDA took just over 700 words (705 to be exact) to tell us how to make a s'more.  Apparently, they aren't content with just celebrating a nonsensical National Day, they have to provide us with healthy options to a handful of marshmallows and some chocolate!  

This begs the obvious question - I wonder how much this little exercise cost American taxpayers? 


  1. I would love to know how a normal sized kid could possibly stand 10 feet away and use a 30in stick to roast smores? The only way I can figure it would work is with a feaking huge bonfire.

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