For the final note on my Backyard S'mores Party, this month's Gathering from The Kitchn, I wanted to bring you a quick look at Rome Industries, a small American company based in Illinois who makes many of the marshmallow forks, hot dog roasters, and S'mores makers in use around campfires all over the country this summer. I asked Michael O'Russa, their president, how they got started and he shared this sweet story about his dad...
1. When was Rome founded, and by whom?
My father, Richard started Rome in 1964 with the help and encouragement of my grandfather and mom. As the story goes, he started his business the day after he married my mom. After 50 years, I'm happy to say that both the marriage and business are still going strong.
2. What was your first product?
Our first product was not a cookware item. It was a line of traditional American farm bells based on antique designs from the 19th century. A year or two later we created a round sandwich toaster for use over a campfire. These Pie Iron sandwich cookers form the backbone of our line of fun outdoor cookware.
3. From your many years of experience making tools for cooking over the campfire, do you have any insider tips for the best foods and ways to cook over the fire?
My tip with outdoor cooking is to keep it simple. Not to say that the food needs to be simple, but look at what you want to make and prep as much as possible before you get over the fire.
4. What's your favorite way to make a S'more? Do you like the classic, or do you have other toppings you like to add?
I'm pretty boring when it come to S'mores with a preference towards the classic. My only twist is Nutella in lieu of a chocolate bar.
For our part, we loved the cookout tools Michael sent us for the S'mores party. There was a good selection of forks, skewers, and — everyone's favorite — the S'mores maker, which is basically a hinged sandwich cage on a long handle.
The S'mores maker came in especially handy for the savory S'mores, which didn't have a marshmallow to toast. Instead, we made sandwiches of crackers, cheese, and toppings like prosciutto and arugula, and toasted three at a time in the S'more maker's cage. This worked super well and I can imagine doing the same for grilled cheese sandwiches and even peanut butter sandwiches.
But of course, if you're a purist and just want to toast your marshmallow already, then you can't go wrong with the charming Picnic Forks.
→ Rome Industries' products on Amazon: Rome Industries Cookware
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