How I became a natural foods freak

Why, yes, I AM one of those irritating moms who makes her own marshmallows and who doesn't allow high fructose corn syrup to ooze over her threshold. 

If you had told me 20 years ago that I would be contemplating how I would make homemade Marshies for Easter and still make my deadline for my current WIP (that's work-in-progress), I would have howled with laughter. 

First, I wouldn't have believed I could EVER write a book in just three months. And second? Well, what IS so bad about HFCS, anyway?

Ahhhh, but then a couple of decades changes things. Enter my food-allergic daughter who still, despite a corn allergy, really, really likes sweets for the holidays. And enter a food industry addicted to sweet, cheap corn. 

I still remember the first time I went to the grocery store after that diagnosis. I expected to never traverse the candy aisle again. 

But I had no clue how hard it would be to find corn-free bread or corn-free frozen French fries. (Companies use dextrose as a browning agent in frozen fries.) 

I panicked. Was there NOTHING my kid could eat anymore?

After, lo, these many months, I have discovered that there's plenty she can eat. I just have to, whimper, cook it from scratch. 

And sometimes, when you have a book deadline looming, you really, really just wanna call for pizza. As for homemade Marshies for Easter? The writer in me is saying, "Are you INSANE?"

But then the mom in me takes over. All marshmallows are is gelatin mixed with a super hot sugar syrup, whipped to a froth with vanilla. And that nets you to-die-for marshmallow creme, which in turn does its thing overnight all by itself and with no supervision required.  You cut and toss the marshies in safe powdered sugar the next morning. 

I got this. It's doable. Deadline AND Marshies aren't mutually exclusive.


  1. God bless you, Cynthia! My sister-in-law has my nephew on a very strict diet to deal with a multitude of things. She basically lives in the kitchen now because you can't just hand the kid a snack size bag of Teddy Grahams. She has to make everything from scratch and without pretty much everything kids love these days. I guess the only consolation is you know you aren't alone! Although I can't personally relate to the allergy issue, I get the writing deadline worries. Sometimes I feel like I can't possibly add another thing to my plate. Hang in there - like you said, you got this!


  2. So, how do you make homemade marshmallows? We tried to watch red dye and some of the others. It is overwhelming, especially when you eat out.

  3. Cynthia - as someone who hates to cook even normally, I so admire your Amazon Woman approach to cooking for your daughter! Wow. My husband is diabetic, so that takes a little care, but there are so many products out there to help us. I hope your daughter knows how lucky she is to have you for a mom. If she had me, I'd be giving her a carrot with jam on it, or something. The question, though, is can you make the marshmallows look like Peeps? (Or is that what marshies are?)

  4. Cynthia, Woman you are a saint. I'm murffing over a new A1C that's suddenly in diabetic range. I have to really make diet changes and like Muriel, as someone who really has never liked to cook---I want to kick the wall about it. But I'm sure if it was something for one of my daughters I'd be doing what you are. The marshies don't sound too difficult and I know your daughter will love you for going to the trouble to make her a treat.

  5. Homemade marshmallows???? My mouth is watering!

  6. I'm so thrilled that no one in my family ever had food allergies. I admire anyone who has to deal with that on a daily basis.

  7. You go, girl! I admire your tenacity and ingenuity. Those of us haunting the foodie aisles in the supermarket salute you.
    Cynthia Thomason

  8. In the dictionary under the word mom they should add--creative problem-solver and multitasking marvel!

  9. I so commiserate! There are so many things that we do for our children that will live on in infamy, especially, around the Thanksgiving table thirty years later, that seem unimportant today, but they aren't. Marshmallows, "like Mom made" is an effort that would live on well past our lifetime. I commend you, Cynthia. I have never made a marshmallow for my family, but I will now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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