Tag Archives: blanket forts

In Defence of Mini Marshmallows

This being the internet, I recently got into an argument with a blogger about the best marshmallows to put in hot chocolate. In her corner, giant marshmallows; in mine, mini.

It started in the comment section, as arguments to, but didn’t stay there. She published a recipe-slash-attack over on Actual Conversations With My Husband (go read it and her other stuff because she’s pretty funny when she’s not spouting hot chocolate heresy).

You see where this is going.

I am duty bound to insist that I’m right, super right, I could never be wrong, giant marshmallows are a pitiful specimen of marshmallow, Time Magazine totally called me about being Man (Person) of the Year but I turned them down when I learned about the write up and photoshoot anyway my button’s bigger and NO YOUR FACE IS A MINI MARSHMALLOW.

I won’t.

Giant marshmallows are fine. Giant marshmallows in hot chocolate are fine. (I mean, they take too long to melt nicely and due to the physics of buoyancy have an irritating habit of bobbing away from your spoon, but I guess some people like that). Toasted Giant marshmallows are extra fine. In fact, I am happy to concede them as the ideal toasting marshmallow. Furthermore, toasted giant marshmallows in hot chocolate brings pleasure on par with witnessing an enemy step in dog poo, slide ten metres, fall face first into a fountain while being filmed so that they end up online as a humorous gif. (Although over-toasting will lead to excessive floating ashes, and I do not recommend excessive floating ashes).

Mini marshmallow hot chocolate is not better than giant marshmallows in hot chocolate. I’m fine with saying that.

Because they cannot be compared. They don’t serve the same purpose. They aren’t the same thing.

You see, giant marshmallows in hot chocolate is a recipe, but mini marshmallow hot chocolate is a spell. Done right, it will grant you warmth, healing, sweetness, and probably type 2 diabetes. (But hey, everything that works has side effects.)

I will teach you how to cast it.

Make hot chocolate.

It doesn’t matter how. I don’t think there is an incorrect method of making hot chocolate. I don’t limit myself to one way of making it. Bought powder, cocoa and sugar, all milk no hot water, hot water plus milk, added chilli, added cinnamon—it’s all good. When I’m feeling fancy, I take the time to melt chocolate into milk on the stovetop.

You do you. All are equal.

Except anything with powdered milk in it. Ew.

Add mini marshmallows.

But don’t just add mini marshmallows. That’s how you do a recipe. Plop ‘em in, done. Boring. This is not a recipe.

Want to know the trick?

Lean in, I’ll whisper.

Volume.

Your goal is to get as many mini marshmallows in there as possible. Plug that mug. If you can still see hot chocolate, you’re not trying hard enough.

And, most importantly, enjoy it.

Mini marshmallows are to giant marshmallows what a kiddie pool of small denomination bills are to a couple of hundred-dollar notes sitting all dull and boring in your hand. Fundamentally equal, but you can frolic in one of them.

So, frolic.

Wait.

This step is vitally important, and you might not get it just right on the first go. You want your marshmallows to get a bit melty. How melty is up to you, but I recommend making sure there are some unmelted bits. An excellent way to achieve a good melted to non-melted ratio is to pile up the marshmallows so high that the bottom layer can melt entirely, while the top layer is safe above the hot chocolate line.

This is the game changing step. This is where we leave the safe harbour of standard hot chocolate and push out into the international waters of lawless adventure. This is hot chocolate with a peg leg and a parrot on its shoulder.

Ready?

Eat the marshmallows out of the hot chocolate with a spoon.

If you’ve done everything right, it should taste like a lighting a candle in a world engulfed by darkness. You should feel it darning the holes life has worn into your soul.

A common mistake here is to drink the hot chocolate. I can see why a person might think it’s a good idea—that is traditionally what one does with hot chocolate, after all—but there are simply too many marshmallows. The top layer of hot chocolate probably doesn’t classify as a liquid any more. Drinking it is a choking hazard.

But don’t worry, the time will come.

Repeat Steps 2 to 4 until either

a) You run out of mini marshmallows, or,

b) You feel like you’re done with the marshmallow phase of your hot chocolate experience.

Just quietly, option b is for the weak.

Drink the hot chocolate.

It’s not just a chaser for the marshmallows. By this stage it should be so gloriously sugary from all the melted marshmallows that it will taste like a hug from a rainbow.

And there you have it.

Mini marshmallow hot chocolate is not classy. It is not pretty. It scores 0 for plating every time. It does not belong on a foodie blog. It draws the wrath of food snobs (and feel free you use it as a means of identifying them among your acquaintances so you can avoid inviting them to your dinner parties).

Mini marshmallow hot chocolate is for coping. Mini marshmallow hot chocolate is for the times when your heart bleeds and your soul has been ripped open and you’re not sure if you can handle the next five minutes, let alone tomorrow. It is for dementor attacks and resisting the one ring. I make it when things are so, desperately, impossibly bad that if someone offered me a cup of tea, I would ask for it with a teaspoon of sugar.

Mini marshmallow hot chocolate got me through 2017.

And now you can make it too.

Your welcome, world.

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Functional Adulthood

Some days are good days. I leap out of bed and I do all the tasks I am supposed to do. I am excited about budgeting, space-saving storage solutions and petrol discounts. I can feel the progress I make towards my sensible, well-thought-out life goals.graph showing functional adultIt’s the closest I get to being one of those go-getters who start the day by running a marathon and knocking back a disturbing green smoothie before going to work and earning a million dollars an hour by saying synergy and looking dynamic in front of graphs.

(But my graphs are better.)

The next day I wake up with the same tasks and the same goals, but it is not the same.

On this day I do not feel equal to my goals. They are too hard, too high, and I am too weak and too low. The small tasks I am supposed to get done are too much pressure. I cannot even bear the weight of basic human functions.atlas I think most people get this sometimes. Probably even the marathon-smoothie-synergy-people get a bit down that their graphs aren’t as awesome as mine.

Over the years I have tested different methods for dealing with this situation. My methods have had varying levels of success. Sometimes I try to do the things anyway.panicked doing everythingSometimes I give up.not getting out of bedOne time I read twelve books in a week so I wouldn’t have to think about all the things I wasn’t doing.reading all the booksSome of my solutions have been a bit extreme.playing deadNone of these help.

But there is something that does.build blanket fortsBuilding blanket forts makes me feel more in control. It reminds me things can be fun. When cuddled up in a blanket fort, I feel safe. I can even do some of the scary things without melting into a jellied heap of nerves.being productive in a blanket fortI wrote some of this in a blanket fort.

And yes, there’s probably a bit of latent agoraphobia at work there, but blanket forts make it work for rather than against me.

(By the way, that right there is the line between maladaptive behaviour and behaviour that’s a bit different but okay I guess. If it constricts your life, it might be a problem. If it doesn’t, boogie on.)

What a magical and wonderful solution to all problems! Rainbows and kittens etcetera.

… Did I at least have you until the etcetera?

It’s not a silver bullet. I don’t think there is one. Even actual silver bullets only work on werewolves; for vampires and zombies and regular people they’re just the same as normal bullets. Although I guess normal bullets are pretty effective against regular people, so silver bullets probably would be too. But using silver bullets on regular people seems like an unnecessarily expensive habit.

Also just generally an unnecessary habit.

Also a very, very bad thing to do.

(Please don’t shoot people.)

But blanket forts (we’re back on blanket forts) are better than the other things I’ve tried, even though sometimes I backslide to terrible coping methods anyway.

don't judge meBut at least I built a blanket fort first. That counts as productive.