Oh, you thought our Thanksgiving op-eds were bad? Gird your stockings for the least wonderful time of the year, when the merry gentlepeople of MEL attempt to outdo one another with the most heinous holiday takes we can unwrap. We can already feel the angry tweets nipping at our noses.
Something special happens when hot chocolate fondles your tongue on a cold winter day. It brings back memories of sledding, snowball fights and peaceful moments watching the snow fall. It summons up images of happy holidays with a happy family. It circulates a stream of comforting warmth through your arms, legs, fingers and toes.
But despite its great influence, one frequent accoutrement can easily plunge a mug of hot chocolate from wonderful to atrocious: Marshmallows.
My beef with marshmallows is as strong as my love for hot chocolate, and begins deep within their composition. In order to achieve that squishy feel, most marshmallows are pumped full of gelatin, which is made by heating collagen found in the tendons, ligaments, bones and hides of cows, as well as the skin from pigs. I asked for a delightful cup of hot chocolate, not a disgusting glob of boiled animal parts. (I understand that milk is an animal product, too, but still a far departure from simmered pig skin.)
Beyond the gelatin dilemma, adding marshmallows to hot chocolate is also just excessive. Hot chocolate is already thick, silky and rich tasting. It already contains a hefty dose of sugary chocolate. Why do I also need a spongy gob of more sugar to float atop all that goodness? Marshmallows are unnecessary and carry perfectly fine cups of hot chocolate over the sugary tipping point, turning them from impeccably balanced to sickly-sweet.
What a shame.
All else aside, my most ferocious objection is simply that marshmallows get in the way. I never asked for a meal in a cup. I asked for a delectable goblet of hot chocolate — a comforting beverage to arouse my holiday spirit during especially tough times — and now my lips, teeth and tongue have to expertly navigate a virtual naval fleet of mushy morsels. Even if given time to melt, marshmallows transform a once-velvety hot chocolate into a congealed slurry of cloying mush.
Small, big, square, round — no matter their size or shape, marshmallows are nothing but an annoyance and have no place in my hot chocolate. Happy holidays, and keep your grimy marshmallows away from my cocoa.