(I am taking a short break and reposting some of the most popular posts from this past year.)
Marshmallows in the Bible?
Well, let’s do some research.
In the King James version of the Bible, we read: Who cut up mallows by the bushes, and juniper roots for their meat? (Job 30:4)
In ESV there is this verse: Can that which is tasteless be eaten without salt, or is there any taste in the juice of the mallow? (Job 6:6)
I have done some research on both of these uses of the word “mallow,” and commentaries disagree. No one is quite sure of the exact plant mentioned here. But we do know from other historical records, that the mallow plant was plentiful in the area during biblical times, most often grown in marshes or swamps. So, the mallow in the Bible is most likely the common mallow plant.
Scholars have found references to it in accent Egyptian, Roman and Greek writings. At first the mallow root was used only for offerings for the gods and pharaohs. Only royalty could eat the mallow!
There is even a sort of recipe from the ancient Egyptians – mix together the mallow sap from the plant root, honey and grain and bake into a cake.
The Romans and Greeks began to use the root for medicinal purposes – to cure sore throats and lessen pain. During the 15th and 16th centuries, the mallow root was used to cure toothaches, coughs, sore throats and indigestion.
But then something happened to the mallow root! In the 1800s, a French shop owner discovered that whipping the sap with egg whites and corn syrup turned it into a delicious sweet treat. Get it? The mallow plant found in marshes resulting in the marsh mallow.
For many years, that’s how marshmallows were made – by whipping the root of the mallow plant with egg whites and corn syrup.
Somewhere during the last hundred years or so, the root of the mallow plant was replaced with gelatin.
Still – interesting story of the mallow plant and something to share with your kids next time you’re making s’mores!