The 12 Days of Christmas Music in 2014, Day 5: Marshmallow

Crooners double feature!

Word of the day: “marshmallow”

 

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” performed by Andy Williams

“…there’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow.”

 

“Marshmallow World” performed by Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra

 

Let’s play marshmallow trivia.

Q: Did you know that marshmallows came from a plant? Do you know what it’s called?

Wait for it…
A: The marshmallow plant. Bet you never saw that coming.

The marshmallow plant is native to Denmark and Frisian areas. Its scientific name is Althaea officinalis. Want to know more about it? Keep reading.

Althea_officinalis_flor

 

Q: Do you know where the word “marshmallow” comes from?

A: It’s a compound word from two other words. Those words are “mar” and “shmallow.”
Just kidding. The words are actually “marsh” and “mallow.”

So while mallow plants are found throughout Europe and Asia and were used for their medicinal properties even in ancient Egypt, the marsh mallow is found particularly in, well, marshes. The roots are used for making marshmallows, and, according to one enthusiastically descriptive Internet botany site, the whole plant is mucinous. If that is even a word, it’s a bit of an off-putting one. Just saying.

marshmallow root

 

Q: True or false—Marshmallows are healthy.

A: Both? While the jet-puffed, s’mores-ingredient, Peeps-like variety are hardly healthy, the marshmallow was originally developed in 1851 in France as a sweet confection to help soothe little children’s throats.

Even though the French were doing their innovative confection thing with marshmallows in 1851, the first listed use of the word according to the OED is, surprisingly enough, in the Indiana Fort Wayne Sentinel along with a variety of its flavors including lemon, rose, banana, pineapple, “liquorice,” and possibly jujube fruit, although it’s hard to tell out of context.

old marshmallows

Go have yourself a great cup of hot cocoa topped with several marshmallows. Chocolate’s good for you too, right?

 

 

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7 thoughts on “The 12 Days of Christmas Music in 2014, Day 5: Marshmallow”

  1. So, if shmallow isn’t one of the words marshmallow came from, what does it mean and how can I use it in a christmas context? The wisemen shmallowed the star? Mary wrapped the babe in shmallowing clothes? I saw mommy shmallow Santa Claus? Rudolph the red-shmallowed reindeer? Or how about Christmas with Mannheim “Shmallow” Steamroller?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I wish I could “love” your comment. I told Lisa that of course I should have known you’d latch on to “shmallow.” Very well played. Shmallow around the Christmas tree with the girls for me. And take pictures.

        Like

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