Ah, yes, I'm hearing from sources that this Sunday is Easter, which brings up all sorts of important religious, metaphysical, emotional, whimsical, rhetorical, and candy-based questions to mind. For the purposes of this piece, I will focus on questions of candy, and in particular, on questions of Peeps. PEEPS! You know what they are, surely, and if not, there are photos placed throughout this piece to help you learn, but for added information, there's always Wiki, too: "Peeps are marshmallow candies, sold in the United States and Canada, that are shaped into chicks, bunnies, and other animals." Ah yes, Peeps. It's the time of year for Peeps. So let's answer some questions about Peeps:
What Are Peeps Made of?
"They are made from marshmallow, corn syrup, gelatin, and carnauba wax." Yum.
People tend to fall into one avid camp or another on the subject, identifying as Peeps-Lovers or Peeps-Haters, or, colloquially, "Peeovers" or "Phaters." I suggest you do the same. (Does anyone feel ambivalent about Peeps? That person is rare, because Peeps do tend to evoke feelings. Feeling nothing about Peeps is like feeling nothing about Sarah Palin. Sort of.) Peeps are divisive!
Why Is That?
We feel things about Peeps, because they are weird. They are mushy. They taste delightful and sweet at first, so sweet, and a bit crunchy, which is an unusual mouthfeel, like biting through the sugar-crusted skin of something with the consistency of tofu, or, well, marshmallow and carnauba wax. Also: They are pretty! Pink and green and yellow and blue, the very colors we associate with the holiday of Easter bunnies and something religious, maybe, too. They are adorable, shaped like adorable things, chicks and bunnies and cuteness in a handbasket, lined in green confetti that gets all over the place.
If you hate Peeps, though, it's probably because they make you feel a little bit nauseated when you eat them, they give you that sugar rush, and then you feel dizzy and a bit confused and maybe need to chug a Diet Coke to set yourself right again. Maybe your children eat Peeps and go cuckoo crazy on them. Or maybe you have a traumatic Peeps memory; perhaps you came home after church at a young age to find all of the heads sliced off those marshmallow chicks and stuffed into the oven, the white-necked bodies left on the floor, and though it smelled just like S'mores, you've never recovered (how could you?). If this is you, distaste for Peeps is quite reasonable.
What Can I Do With Peeps?
Ever so many things! One can tell the stories of Easter through dioramas, or shadow puppetry, or Peeps Passion plays. One can make a Peeps sacrifice to the chickens in the backyard, who work so hard for you everyday. One can make art:
One could, alternatively, stage a horrible revise of a Billy Joel song, or vote for their favorite newsworthy Washington Post Peeps diorama, or, yes, make something, a slideshow, anything. Really, anything you can make with anything you can make with Peeps! Crowns, for instance. Crazy-adorable dessert concoctions, a whole spate of them, compliments of Fox News. You can make Easter crafts out of them. You can set a booby-trap for your coworkers in the old office! People cover them in chocolate, people shellack them and preserve them for posterity, handing them down from one generation to the next. People keep them as pets until they expire and then compare them to pictures of other Peeps-esque things:
There are also existential things one might do with Peeps, without ever having to purchase Peeps. One can wonder whether they're truly indestructible, or what their name spells backwards and what that means (if one must).
As for that indestructible thing: "In 1999, scientists at Emory University jokingly performed experiments on batches of Peeps to see how easily they could be dissolved, burned or otherwise disintegrated, using such agents as cigarette smoke, boiling water and liquid nitrogen. In addition to discussing whether Peeps migrate or evolve, they claimed that the eyes of the confectionery 'wouldn't dissolve in anything.'" Yum.
No. The only real Peeps are the chicks and bunnies you know and love, in the pastel colors you (maybe) paint your fingernails. Bastardized Halloween Peeps are just Heeps. Valentine's Day Peeps are Veeps, and Christmas Peeps are Santa's Lunch.
Must One Share One's Last Peep?
You're human, not a bunny-or-chick-shaped candy. Do whatever you want, you have to live with you.
Is Learning to Love Peeps This Weekend Only Going to End in Heartbreak?
Peeps are something of the long-distance relationship of candy. You don't get to see them all the time, so when you do, it's a real party. They are unusual, they are special, you give them the benefit of the doubt, and even if they don't taste that great, they're only here for a little while. When they are, we should probably appreciate them for what they are. Heartbreak, no. Stomachache, yes. Cling to your chocolate bunny, nibbling at the ears, as need requires.
Images via Flickr/TheBazile; Flickr/Marin; Flickr/Rakka, Flickr/Craft*ology, Wikipedia.