Thursday, April 21, 2011

Not Another Peep Out of Me About Peeps

Easter is quickly approaching. It actually snuck up on me this year. I’m not in school anymore, and since I live thousands of miles away from my family they aren’t pestering me about bringing the corn for Easter dinner. I should have known something was up as the stores are filled with football (American) shaped packages wrapped in shiny paper. Apparently these are chocolate eggs filled with goodies. There is still much about the Italian supermarket that confuses me, so I guess I just chalked this particular package up to one more thing I can’t buy cuz I’m too embarrassed to ask what it is.

Yesterday Leif and I talked a little bit about this holiday: here, in America and in Sweden. Of course the discussion turned to candy, as this is the main function of Easter for many people. I was shocked to discover that while he is familiar with chocolate and jelly beans, he is ignorant of robin’s eggs and Peeps. Who hasn’t heard of Peeps?

I struggled with how to describe this staple of many Easter baskets. “Sticky sugar, coated with neon-colored sugar” sounds redundant, if true. “Shaped like chicks and bunnies” as long as you squint your eyes. To me the chicks look like artful doggy pooh while the bunnies look like the kind of rabbits you might dream about after a night of spicy Thai food and too much plum wine. He understands what marshmallows are but the thought of putting all that sugar on them made him wince just a bit. (side note: the man has never had a s’more. This must happen when we visit MN.) The conversation ended in a lot of laughter. I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m pulling his leg.

Thinking that maybe I somehow described Peeps poorly, I visited their website to see pictures and get some accurate information. You must go there: it plays music (showcasing the tuba, an instrument born to sell candy) while you shop their online store of candy and other merchandise.  Need a Peeps t-shirt? Need to buy a gross of electric blue Peeps bunnies for the Sunday school class? This is where you must go. A thorough history of the company and the candy are there too, if you are interested.

Feeling that only one website presented an unbalanced picture, I then visited Wikipedia for a more scholarly look at this American tradition. I would suggest that if you are a Peeps lover and don’t want to be disillusioned that you skip this site. First there is no lilting (if annoying) music playing as you read about Peeps. It is filled with information on history, ingredients and little tidbits like the scientific experiments that have been run on Peeps. For example, the eyes don’t dissolve in any substance they have tried, including acid. Their footnotes do include a whole lot of fun links to research, videos, company promos and recipes.

There‘s more…the Pioneer Press was the first paper to hold a Peeps diorama contest. They get hundreds of entries every year. Go St Paul! There is a Peep eating contest called the Peep Off and the record is 102 Peeps in 30 minutes. I’m feeling a little queasy just writing that down. Do you suppose he washed them down with a two liter bottle of Coke?

After this short investigation into Peeps, I am finding that I don’t miss them as much as I thought I did. And I don’t feel a need to convince anyone else that they are the kind of candy to get all homesick about. Sick, maybe; homesick….no.

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