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July 17, 2022

“Would you mind opening up your suitcase, sir?” I have heard these words many times as we do our yearly transit from America to Europe. We live on two continents and we are constantly on the move.

I always quickly oblige but in doing so I chuckle a bit. The security agent at either Asheville, or Atlanta or both tosses through my things and then asks the inevitable question: “Why is your suitcase full of marshmallows?” I explain that they are gifts for our friends and their children back in Italy. It makes no sense to them and they usually follow by quizzing me if I am taking them abroad to sell. When I finally assure them that I am not a marshmallow mule, they let me go but as I look back they are always scratching their heads in disbelief.

So why is my suitcase full of marshmallows? Well, the story goes like this: Many, many years ago we learned from our friends in Italy that European marshmallows, when they can be found, do not toast over an open fire. They simply melt and fall into the flames like bits of plastic goo. I thought this was ridiculous until I tried to toast an Italian marshmallow years ago. Yep, plop it went into the coals. It simply liquefied before my eyes.

I assured our friends that American marshmallows don’t simply melt off the end of the stick but rather they become a golden treat. (Okay, ashen treat if you’re like most kids.) I promised that I would bring back a bag on out next trip over. That was years ago. They were so popular that now I must bring a whole suitcase full just to satisfy the hungry children of our friends in our neighboring village. Their first words upon our arrival are usually, “Marshmallow bitte?” I oblique but usually hold a bit back for the end of summer.

We often eat them together at a filo’ (bonfire) before the remainder is consumed by hungry mouths like cracked corn in a chicken coop. It’s fun for all. Two years ago, we all sat together with visitors from Japan and ate the golden blobs into the night. They claimed that American marshmallows were definitely superior to those found in Japan. Of course, the older kids liked to light them afire and twirl them around in the blackness of the Tirolean night like fireworks. I call them marshmallow pinwheels.

In the last few years however, I decided to treat these children to the full array of American consumerism. I now port standard marshmallows, the mini variety, the huge smores sized chunks and even ones with different flavors such as pumpkin. When I am purchasing these in the United States, I always feel I must explain why I am buying so many. The grocery clerks have that same puzzled look as the airport security agents.

In the end, it all works out and everyone is happy. And oh yes, I have definitely become the marshmallow whisperer of the Val di Non.

Do you take any special gifts with you when you travel?

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From → America, Humor, Italy, Travel

One Comment
  1. Marshmallow mule 😅, too cute! 💖

    Liked by 1 person

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