In Japan, New Year decorations are traditionally burned in a ritual bonfire. It’s called Dondoyaki. Burning is a sign of respect, because smoke goes to the heavens.
The smoke is supposed to have cleansing and protective properties, so you cook food over the flames
when the fire has settled.
Cooking mochi (rice cakes) here is traditional. Cooking dried squid here is traditional. Cooking marshmallows here is NOT traditional.
Cooking marshmallows isn’t traditional, period, but we’ve done it here the past couple of years because marshmallows are easier to stab on the tree branches.
So of course if we roast marshmallows, we must have s’mores. But to have s’mores, we must have graham crackers. And they are hard to come by in backwoods Japan. I expect they are available in upscale grocery stores near the US Embassy in Tokyo. I found them on Amazon, but they were 5,680 yen (plus 500 yen for shipping) for four boxes.
We made do with thin cookies I got from the local grocery store. Add chocolate and freshly toasted marshmallows, and you can’t go wrong…
but it wasn’t the same.
The Pumpkin Princess and I gave them out to anyone who looked interested, including her friends from school and their grandparents. Most people loved them. But I still felt like someone who was serving pizza with mayonnaise or sushi with soggy rice. This was their first encounter with s'mores, and I wanted it to be right for them.
Does this make me one of these people?