Beth Henley, Tennessee Williams, and an Updated After School Snack

I spent my formative years in the theater. When I was a kid I hated dance class, gymnastics, softball, soccer. You name it I probably refused to participate. But I loved theater. I spent my middle school years in intense summer camps putting on performances only a parent could love and moved into a performing arts intensive high school. I lived for theater, but really, when I think back on it now I lived for bringing stories to life.

I’ve always loved plays. Sit me down with a script and I can cast the thing in my head and enjoy the next 3 hours sitting front row center of my own drama. In high school on top of my regular Lit classes I found myself in acting, theater history, and a slew of other dramatic classes. We always read through scripts. It was in these classes that I fell in love with Arthur Miller and Shakespeare. It was also here that I first learned of Tennessee Williams, Robert Harling and Beth Henley. 

As I grow older I find myself reminiscing about these days less and less. However we are about to leave for Nashville and all I can think about are the Southern Plays that defined my formative years. 

Beth Henley’s Crimes of the Heart remains one of my most beloved plays and overall most beloved written works. I read, reread, and memorized the entire play through my four years in high school. I performed in scenes in class and directed a full length production my senior year. While these memories are increasingly in the past, I still look back fondly on the work. I love how Henley’s works deal with love in all of its forms. Crimes of the Heart features family love and romantic love in such a way that it is clear that both are important, different, and necessary for life to have meaning. This isn’t an uncommon theme in Henley’s work and I adore many of her plays. 

In my mind it plays a foil to Steel Magnolias. Love is ever present, but can be full of sorrow. I can’t touch Steel Magnolias as an adult. I don’t need that type of grief in my life, but it is yet another example of a play that I experienced first hand, working performances and memorizing by exposure instead of watching the movie. 

As I have been reminiscing about my love of theater in all of its forms I am reminded of my mom and after school snacks. Her go to when I was young was a tasty rice crispy treat. By the end of first grade I wouldn’t even entertain the store bought variety. The homemade ones were always better and plentiful in my house. 

As all cereal treats are incredibly easy I decided to play around a few summers ago and develop one using some of my favorite flavors- that of a s’more! 

You see, s’mores are delicious, but they are rich and are typically very difficult to make in the winter months when everyone is stuck inside. So I threw together some marshmallows, golden ghrams, and chocolate in the hopes of satisfying my craving for a cold January day.

I am happy to report that I was successful. These may not be the treats I ate after rehearsal, but they are now the ones I bring to parties, dinners with friends, and movie nights. 

Ingredients:
1 box Golden Grahams 

3 tbsp salted butter
1 large bag mini marshmallows (the extra marshmallows really make the recipe. I recommend buying 2 bags if you can’t find the extra large mini marshmallows at your grocery store)

2-3 chocolate bars

Steps:

Grease 9×13 dish. Set aside. 

In a large pot, melt butter and ¾ bag marshmallows together. Once combined with minimal lumps mix in cereal in 3 to 4 batches, taking care not to break the Golden Graham pieces. 

When fully incorporated pour mixture into dish. Coat hands in cooking spray or oil and pat down to an even layer. 

Break chocolate pieces over top of cereal mixture in an even layer, and then coat everything with remaining marshmallows.

Place dish under broiler and watch carefully. Marshmallows will brown quickly and may catch fire if left unattended. 

Remove. Let cool for 2 hours or overnight. Cut into squares and enjoy.  

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