Our friend J., having read my post about Easter candy, sent us some from the U.S. Her cover note said to read the back of the Peeps package because it might inspire me.
“What’s a Peep?” you ask if you’re not from the U.S. It’s sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, yellow #5 (tartrazine), potassium sorbate (a preservative), natural [unspecified and I’d say hard to detect] flavors, and carnauba wax. Yum. They’re gluten free and fat free and shaped (if you have a bit of imagination) like a chick that came into existence by being spat from a spout. Each chick contains 28 calories. That’s 140 calories per serving, because, as an essential part of a balanced diet, serving size has been scientifically determined.
The text on the cover claims they’re marshmallow, but they taste like nothing that originated on planet Earth.
No, I’m going to backtrack on that, because I think carnauba wax is used on cars. On planet Earth. So if you’ve ever used your tongue to wax the car, the taste will be familiar. That means, all you Peep Corporation lawyers out there, that I retract my statement about planet Earth. Don’t sue. Please.
The text on the back of the package says that opening it “opens a world of possibilities! [Oh, the thrill implied by that exclamation mark. I’m so carried away I’ll add one of my own: !] From creative crafting and imaginative artwork, to delicious recipes and more, let the fun begin!” And I feel compelled to tell you that the repetitious use of open is theirs. They were aiming for one of those rhythmic poetic thingies. Isn’t it wondrous, the uses writing techniques can be put to?
So basically, what they’re saying here is that these things last forever and therefore can be used in any form of artwork. The Mona Lisa in Peeps? Why not? A Peep perched Thinker-like on the toilet? Sure! More exclamation marks? You got ‘em!
When I worked for a writers organization in Minnesota, one (or possibly two) of my illustrious co-workers impaled a Peep on the bathroom ceiling, where it remained for months without changing in any noticeable way. I’m not sure whether that was craft or art (it gets tricky sometimes, that art/craft question), but I do know the Peep didn’t rot or stretch or draw ants or roaches or anything else that would normally be drawn to food. Those insects? They know stuff. We could learn from them.
I have a bit more trouble with the delicious recipes the text promises. Peep pie? I don’t know what happens to them in the presence of heat. I’m not sure what happens to them, in fact, when they’re eaten. They appear to be indestructible. Do they pass through us whole or does the digestive system work its magic, even on Peeps?
Dedicated as I am to this blog, and to exploring every last aspect of the cultures of the U.S. and Britain, I draw the line at offering myself as a test subject. But I do, once again, wish those of you who celebrate it a happy Easter and those of you who don’t a happy non-Easter. To those of you who love Peeps, I offer my apologies. Our package has been promised to an American Peep-lover in the village, and she’s thrilled by the prospect of all those exclamation marks landing in her house.
And finally, to J. I send my profound thanks. For both the candy and the suggestion. I wouldn’t have thought to turn the package over and read it if you hadn’t told me to.