When I think about good things that come from Pennsylvania a few names pop up in my head immediately. Tina Fey…Gertrude Stein…Gene Kelly…My Mom…and today’s great thing:
126: Marshmallow Peeps
It being Easter-time right now, I figure it’d be practical to write about these festive little treats. It should be noted, however, that Peeps aren’t just for Easter anymore…they release different Peeps for almost every holiday now. They’ve got trees at Christmas and bats and pumpkins at Halloween, and teddy bears at Valentine’s Day. Though, to be a wee bit critical, I don’t think any of those things make anything near a ‘peep’-type noise. Baby chick marshmallows at Easter were how they started, of course, and the little bunnies followed swiftly after. Though they were originally dreamt up by a Russian immigrant in NYC, production soon moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Incidentally, Just Born Candy Co. also makes Mike and Ike, another favorite of mine (though sometimes I wish I could buy a box of JUST the red ones). Here’s their website. It’s got pics of the Peepster (a tricked-out VW Beetle): Just Born
I brought some Peeps back from America for my British co-workers and just passed them around a few days ago. I hadn’t realized what a curious novelty they were until I saw their reactions. At first befuddled, they didn’t instantly recognize them as foodstuff. I explained that they were essentially just marshmallows with crystal sugar on them which had been dyed a festive color. They were delighted but conflicted… my manager said, “It doesn’t look like you should eat it”. Though that’s true for many health-related reasons, what she meant was that it was too cute. That feeling is normal, I assured them. I advised them to tear the head clean off so that the pangs of guilt would abate.
In trying to explain the omnipresence of Peeps in American culture, I found that I didn’t really know where to start. I heard myself going on about different holidays but mostly Easter and that they’d sometimes get Easter grass stuck on them from your basket and if you leave them out in the open air they go a bit hard but some people like them that way and other people microwave them. I wasn’t making much sense (though that’s not a new sensation for my British co-workers when I’m talking at them.) But there is truth in my confusing tangent. Everyone likes their Peeps in their own way. Some prefer one shape to another, some like ’em fresh and some prefer stale. Some clever folks will top their hot chocolate with a Peep–letting it melt down into the scalding deliciousness (I would have to tear the head off before I did this). Others freeze them (something I’ll have to try). Some people even play games with them. There’s something called “Peep Jousting”, wherein you and a partner each stick a toothpick into a Peep and place them in the microwave. As they melt, one Peep will inevitably stab the other first. The winner gets to feast on both gooey corpses. Barbaric.
Some people like to wear their Peeps on their chest:
Some people like to disguise their children as Peeps:
I love the very showbiz pose that this toddler has been ordered to strike. His/her knees have barely hardened and already she/he’s been put to work.
Some people spend hours crafting dioramas for Peeps. Did you know that? Did you know that there is an annual Washington Post-sponsored “Peep Show”? This is perhaps the most awesome link that I’ve put on my blog to date. I implore you to click on it.
Knowing that this contest exists…and that SO many people participate in it makes me want to keep living. I could seriously weep over this…like the weird kid in American Beauty when he loses his shit over that plastic bag in the wind.
Do you want to know more about the proud history of Peeps? I do!
The homepage for this doc, Power of the Peep, says that they’re still looking for distributors.
Won’t some network or investor please purchase this? Food network? TLC? Duane Reade? Anyone? I wanna see it!
How do you like your Peeps?