Easter candy in the U.S. and U.K.: Special late edition

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.

North Cornwall. Thatched cottage.

Irrelevant photo: Thatched cottage with gorse and may in bloom.

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.

44 thoughts on “Easter candy in the U.S. and U.K.: Special late edition

  1. Peeps are weird. They’re so quintessentially American Easter, that I always think they should be in the baskets, but not a one of our children eat them. Neither do their parents.
    They must fall into “Oh yes, please!” or “OMG, NO. Thanks.” lol

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Each year The Washington Post hosts a Peeps Diorama Contest, to create a scene from history or popular culture, using Peeps. Thousands of people enter, and some of their creations are truly impressive. Here’s a gallery of this year’s finalists: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-top-50-in-the-2015-peeps-diorama-contest/2015/03/31/f65bd3fa-cda8-11e4-a2a7-9517a3a70506_gallery.html
    Or try searching “Washington Post Peeps” on google image, and you’ll see there too. Amazing work, done with stupid marshmallow chicks and bunnies.

    I know almost nobody who actually eats the things.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Okay, that’s truly bizarre, so I’m grateful that you let me know about it. As for knowing almost no one who eats the things, you’re living among saints or gourmets. And I’m not advocating that you change that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I would like to add to your Peep post; there are indeed two different theories on how to eat them best: ‘fresh’ out of the package (yes air quotes are definitely required) or leave the package open for a few days so they turn stale (no I am not joking). It has been an ongoing battle of the Peeps and sides must be chosen….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The Peeps people have started making other shapes, too – for other holidays. A few years ago, I found a couple of different winter/Christmas themed shapes – took ’em home, and made a winter-wonderland scene out of the marshmallow wanna-be’s.

    I appologize (slightly) to my Mother for playing with my food – but Peeps may not fall in that catagory, so I’m using a loophole in the rule book.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Peeps were new to us when we moved here to the US. I cannot say they are vile because they are too bland to inspire any interesting adjectives. They are just squashy nothingness. We are not Christian but we do opt into Easter to a degree because we choose to. My kids miss large chocolate Easter eggs. I did find them some Lindt bunnies so that makes up for it. Maybe. Partially. So my kids got a bunny and some small eggs each for Easter and we decorated boiled eggs and thumped them around the garden by way of an egg roll (which I know is a tradition you blogged about recently). What I did note, however, is that certainly in our locale, Easter appears to have become another Christmas in terms of gift giving. Parents make up Easter baskets full of edible treats for their kids but also add other gifts. From talking to other parents, these included lego sets, DVDs and even iPods. That is absolutely, positively, definitely not a tradition we are assimilating into our family life. I would rather give my kids multiple packs of Peeps.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. For me, Peeps will always remind me of one of Britains best character comedians. Harry Enfield had a character in his shows, back in the nineties called Stavros the Greek. He was supposed to be a caricature of a Greek Kebab House owner, whose opening line would be “Hello, everybody peeps.” This was one his sketches http://binged.it/1FUzn3Z

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Peeps also exist for Halloween and Christmas. I know, because my sister always sends some to my husband. He is a connoisseur of Peeps. Even though he’s French and, therefore, should have an innate revulsion to such things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure Peeps Corp. has armies of thinkers hired to find or create other Peep-friendly holidays. Keep watching–there’ll be more. As for your husband and the Peeps, I do love a stereotype-smashing story. My hat’s off to him. Or it would be if I had one at hand.


  8. I know I am late chiming in here, but I am from Peeptown, USA. They are made by Just Born Candies in Bethlehem, PA. Sam Born acquired the marshmallow chick line from the Rodda Candy Company back in 1953 and turned it into the mass-produced Peeps line we know today.

    We had those things in my house for every holiday. The bunnies and Peeps for Easter. The pumpkins for Halloween. I don’t recall actually eating them, but I experimented a lot. What happened when I put them in vinegar? When I put Peeps and Alka-Seltzer in the toilet, I found out they vaporized quickly. Add shampoo, and my mom got angry.

    The fun commenced in the 80s when we finally got our microwave.

    Liked by 1 person

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