A Firepit Needs S’mores
A firepit demands s’mores, of course, but as I learned a few weekends ago, a big bowl of chili next to the fire isn’t a bad idea, either. The Midwestern Gentleman and I joined a bunch of friends in Stefan and Jamile’s backyard and marveled that it was still March, and here we were without coats on, eating and lounging outside. Why is Mother Nature being so dang nice to us? I’m a little wary about what she might have up her sleeve for later this summer. In the meantime, however, I’ll continue to enjoy this warm, lush springtime.
Stefan built this awesome firepit (above) in the backyard, but on this particular evening he handed over fire-tending duties to Tim. Tim has a variety of fire-building methods to suit any occasion (the chimney technique, the pyramid technique…) and is known for his ability to coax the flames to ominous heights. He kept things low-key this time, however, with an eye toward toasting s’mores later in the evening.
Jamile was away for the weekend, but she still managed to play the gracious host from afar by leaving an enormous pot of vegetarian chili for us to enjoy. Kecia and Tim brought an omnivore chili, with bison meat, pumpkin, three kinds of beans, and chickpeas. Both were delicious topped with shredded cheese and chopped scallions.
As the sun went down, we started to pass the s’mores fixings around. Corie and Robin brought Peeps and Reese’s peanut butter eggs for Easter-themed s’mores. I’m pretty sure Kori’s eyes lit up as much as mine did when she saw those Reese’s eggs; she is the one who introduced me to Reese’s peanut butter cup s’mores when we were camping on the North Shore last summer. The Gent and I brought our go-to s’mores crackers: fudge-dipped grahams. We also brought some new “stackable” marshmallows, which have a flat, pillowy shape (below). They worked fine, but I decided I prefer the way a traditional marshmallow puffs up, fat and gooey, and then oozes out the sides of the s’more.
Corie and Robin had brought a few firepit sandwich toasters, basically a hinged metal box on a long handle. Tim fixed himself a toasty peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which he then garnished with a s’more made in one of the sandwich toasters. The graham cracker got a bit singed inside the toaster, but that didn’t deter Tim from enjoying his creation.
Once our bellies were full, Corie busted out some fire sticks he had made from copper tubing. He propped them up at the base of the fire, and they turned the flames into a dancing kaleidoscope of greens, pinks, and blues. “S’more Night” was a fabulous way to say goodbye to winter. As Kecia later commented, “who says you can’t have fun outside in March in Iowa?” For once, Mother Nature played along!