It Wouldn't Be Easter Without Peeps
I can't think about Easter without thinking of Easter baskets, and I can't picture Easter baskets without Peeps, those soft, super- sweet, mega- gooey little yellow chicks that, along with jelly beans and colored eggs, were always to be found nestled in the plastic grass of every self respecting Easter basket.
Nothing says Easter like Peeps. I never ate them any other time of year and, even as a child, I didn't really like them, but Easter was just not complete without them. They make their appearance on supermarket shelves along with hot cross buns soon after Ash Wednesday, and behold, on Easter Sunday, they are being chomped on by children everywhere--er, everywhere in America that is. Peeps are definitely an American Easter icon and perhaps not even known, and certainly not relished in the rest of the world.
Peeps are made from sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin. They also contain small amounts of preservatives which are said to render them virtually indestructible. Generations of children have experimented with substances from water and coke to vinegar and rubbing alcohol to try to dissolve Peeps. I remember putting them in the freezer and microwave and I am sure there have been many other scientific trials over the years. Peeps, llke diamonds, just may be forever.
An individual peep has 32 calories and delivers a super sugar spike to the blood sugar, ensuring that children will be hyper active and super cranky by the time the Easter egg roll is over.
Where Did Peeps Come From?
Peeps are produced by the Just Born Candy Company which began making them in 1953 when it acquired the Rodda candy company and figured out a way to mass produce Rodda's Easter chick candies. The result was Peeps which turned the Newborn Candy Company into the business that Peeps built.
The Company itself is a real American success story,founded in Brooklyn in 1910 by Russian immigrant, Sam Born, who opened his own store and candymaking operation there. Born was a candymaker by trade and when he opened his Brooklyn candy store he wanted to emphasize the freshness of the product so he called it " Just Born"
The business soon outgrew the Brooklyn candy store and moved to a larger factory capable of assembly line production in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania-- a fitting birthplace for an Easter icon. It is still located there. Four million of the marshmallowy little peeps are created every day.The factory turns out an amazing billion peeps per year and what gets done with those peeps is also truly amazing.
Equally amazing are some of the ways Peeps are incorporated into Easter cuisine and general fun and games. If you don't want to try the recipes you might want to show up at one of a number of Peeps-fests held around the nation or check out some Peep-art.
Peep-Pix of Unusual Ways to Use Peeps
Recipe for Smeeps
Here's a link to the original on Serious Eats
4 Peeps (1 package)
4 graham crackers, separated into 8 halves
Four 1-ounce squares semisweet or dark chocolate (depending on preference)
1. Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 350°F.
2. Place a 1-ounce square of chocolate on 4 of the graham cracker halves. Top each chocolate with a Peep. Say your goodbyes.
3. Put your Peep sacrifice laden graham crackers on an aluminum foil covered tray and pop them in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes. Watch them carefully as toasting Peeps can turn into burn victims beyond repair in the blink of an eye. Vigilance!
4. Once the Peeps are toasted to your liking, take them out of the oven and squish them with a graham cracker half. Yum.
Easter may be the holiest day in the Christian calendar, but it is also a holiday that celebrates Spring, fertility, and new life symbolized by eggs, bunnies, flowers, and last but not least in America-- Peeps.