Happy Easter: Good luck, and thanks for all the Peeps®

I have to confess that one of my all-time favorite confections is Marshmallow Peeps®. On the week after Easter, I find my departmental mailbox overflowing with boxes of Peeps, purchased by penurious but kindly friends who take advantage of the fact that all Easter candy goes on sale for half price the Monday after the holiday.  For those of you in countries unlucky enough to lack these sugar-crusted blobs of chicken-shaped marshmallow (that means all nations outside the U.S. and Canada), here’s what they look like:

Peeps are made by the Just Born candy company of Bethelehem, Pennsylvania, who took over the manufacture of the chicken-shaped confections from another company in 1953.  They’re are an American tradition, and can be microwaved, made into LOLzy dioramas (see this year’s Washington Post Peeps Diorama Contest, or used in games.  I prefer mine slightly stale, so I slit open the cellophane and let them dry for a day or so before consumption. This produces a slight but satisfying “crunch” when you bite into them.  A while back the company got the bright idea of producing Peeps® for holidays other than Easter, so now you can get Christmas-tree-shaped Peeps® in December, orange pumpkin-shaped Peeps® at Halloween, and so on.

Here’s a gentleman producing a world record for the speedy consumption of Peeps®.

The eater is Patrick “Deep Dish” Bertoletti, a professional eater specializing in breaking world records.

Like sausages and politics, it’s best not to know how Peeps® are made.  The company has official videos of their manufacture, but they cleverly ignore the way the actual marshmallow forms are produced. (Some non-official photos are here.)

And they’re durable.  Wikipedia notes this:

Peeps are sometimes jokingly described as “indestructible”. In 1999, scientists at Emory University 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.  They claimed that the eyes of the confectionery “wouldn’t dissolve in anything”. Furthermore, Peeps are insoluble in acetone, water, diluted sulfuric acid, and sodium hydroxide. Concentrated sulfuric acid seems to have effects similar to the expected effects of sulfuric acid on sugar.

For more on Peeps® recipes (I like to float one in coffee), ways to torture them, and miscellaneous links, go here.  And weigh in if you have guilty food pleasures like Peeps.

As for the “good luck” part, here’s a church sign I found on Facebook:

48 Comments

  1. Chris aka Happy Cat
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Peeps are the devil’s snack food. (Just as Taco Bell is the devil’s fast food.) I can’t stop eating them and then feel physically ill afterward.

    I saw another photo of that sign on Joe.My.God. As I said there, once again Christians kissing up to Jews in order to give atheists the middle finger. Many (most?) baptist churches think Jews will be in line for hell behind the atheists.

    • Pray Hard
      Posted April 8, 2012 at 6:02 am | Permalink

      Yeah, growing up in a fundy Baptist church in Texas, we were preached at that Catholics were going to Hell, but Jews were REALLY going to Hell. The preachers just sputtered and turned purple with rage and bulging veins over atheists.

    • Naked Bunny with a Whip
      Posted April 8, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      I ate a Peep once.

      Afterward, I felt like I needed to wash it down with something less cloyingly sweet, like a Twinkie.

  2. Grania Spingies
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    I think this is an elaborate way for Professor Ceiling Cat to say: send Peeps 😉

  3. daveau
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Even as a child I couldn’t stand these. I’d trade them to my brother for his malted milk eggs. And I’d give him my black jelly beans for his red ones. After all, Easter is about the barter system.

  4. Pray Hard
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    And, Muslims, BOOM!

  5. Stonyground
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    RE The church sign. Easter is a pre-Christian spring festival, most atheists celebrate it. In the Stony household it means eating chocolate novelties, watching cricket on the telly and using the long weekend to catch up with the gardening.

  6. herewegoagain_a
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Peeps are the nasty tasting junk food I have ever tasted. My 8-year-old grandson loves them and besides worrying about his teeth, I wonder if he will glow in the dark after this eating tooth decaying fun food. Cheers.

  7. Posted April 8, 2012 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    It seems that my native country has been blessed (cursed?) with Peeps as well: http://www.moodiereport.com/document.php?c_id=1178&doc_id=3167

    Yaaay!

  8. DV
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Good luck everyone!

  9. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Good luck, peeps!

  10. Miss May
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    “Like sausages and politics, it’s best not to know how Peeps® are made”…the preparation of women is best left behind closed doors as well. I’m not fond of Peeps, but I could get into making a diorama out of them. I confess to nomming entire bags of Cheetos, but the resultant orange fingers are inconvenient and untidy.

    • Posted April 8, 2012 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      the resultant orange fingers are inconvenient and untidy

      Unfortunately, carrots have the same effect

  11. Filippo
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Re: the BAPTIST church sign: don’t they really mean that “Good Luck” applies to not just atheists but to all non-Christians, as defined by the right righteous Baptists?

    There is no one as self-assured of their opinions as conservative Southern Baptist males. (The women are supposed to keep their mouths shut.) I know whereof I speak, having grown up and been “immersed” – psychologically and literally – in that denomination. I feel significant hostility.

  12. Kevin
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Peeps are better slightly stale.

    Open the package and leave them alone until they’re a bit dried out. The flavors are much more intense. Like dry-aged beef.

    Mmmm…stale Peeps.

  13. Posted April 8, 2012 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    One enduring childhood memory of Peeps is playing at my step-grandparents house in the sandbox during easter, and grabbing a peep to eat and finding it a bit more granular than usual. uuuhhh. hurts my teeth to even think about it.

  14. Mark Joseph
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Peeps better than Cadbury eggs??! Dr. Coyne, I knew you were a heretic (that’s why I enjoy reading you so much), but really, this is too much. If I didn’t know that you had no free will in making that decision, I’d say this would be grounds for persecution.

    Good luck!

  15. Steve Smith
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Don’t listen to the host. Peeps are only good for teh μwave:

    http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?desktop_uri=/watch?v=-Cj3hGpCHYQ

    BTW, watch South Park’s Special Passover episode “Jewpacabra”.

  16. Tim
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Easter candy:

    Solid chocolate – good, very good

    Everything else – what you eat after the chocolate is gone.

  17. BobL
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    There is even a Peeps store at the Mall of America. Haven’t been to it myself, but reports are that it is devoted to Peeps exclusively! Sounds like a pilgramige site.

  18. Neil
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Given that you are a Peeps and Sgt Pepper fan, you should enjoy Sgt. Peeper.

  19. Achrachno
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I don’t think you’re supposed to eat Peeps. They’re just decorative, like an easter basket. After the holiday is over, you can pack them away for use next year … and for many years into the future.

    • Tim
      Posted April 8, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Right. Peeps are the fruitcakes of Easter.

  20. Posted April 8, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Many years ago I was grossly ill after eating Peeps.

    To this day I feel nauseous just hearing the name, queasy at a photograph and I’m sure I’d heave at the smell.

    I feel the same way about bourbon, too, for the same reason.

    Bourbon and Peeps. Just. Say. No.

    • Tim
      Posted April 8, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      I was totally with you until you got to the bourbon part.

    • Achrachno
      Posted April 8, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Wait, you’re not saying you washed Peeps down with Bourbon I hope. That might be sickening.

      • Posted April 8, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        Not my finest decision.

        • Marella
          Posted April 8, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

          Nobody to blame but yourself …

          • Posted April 9, 2012 at 5:36 am | Permalink

            Actually, on the bright side, I kicked two potentially bad habits all at once!

  21. ohioobserver
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    (Warning: I teach chemistry, so the geek quotient in this comment may be dangerous for some):

    I despise peeps as food. The only useful function they serve is to be microwaved (already mentioned, as a demonstration of Charles’ Law), or (as I do the day after the Easter weekend) placed in a glass bell jar under increasing vacuum; the gargantuan increase in volume is a graphic demonstration of Boyle’s Law. How convenient that the presentation of gas laws falls in the curriculum right at the pagan fertility festival. Coincidence? I wonder…

  22. mordacious1
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    A coincidence that on Zombie Day we eat a candy that you consume by first biting off the head? I think not. Destroy their heads, it’s the only way!

  23. Monika
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    If you happen to like chocolate bunnies… don’t watch this video.

    How to Kill a Chocolate Bunny:

    • sahansdal
      Posted April 8, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Disappointing. I expected the microwave nuking…. 🙂

  24. Alektorophile
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Torturing chicken-shaped candy? Alektorophobes!

  25. sahansdal
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    RE the sign: The “Good luck” belongs with the other groups as well. Only LIVING Masters can save. Read John 9:4 with the correct Codex Sinaiticus “sent Us”, not the received “sent me”. Jesus was making the point that EVERYONE, including himself, is limited to “working” while alive (“day”), for death comes (“night”) when “*NO ONE* can work”. To drive that home he then says “AS LONG AS I AM IN THE WORLD I am the Light of the world.” “For it is the will of my Father that every one who *SEES the Son* and believes .. {will be saved].” -John 6:40. The “Son” is the Holy Spirit in a Master — like John the Baptist, Jesus, James, a host of others (Melchizedek, Moses, Elijah, Charan Singh). Paul screwed it all up with his Romans 10:9 “Confess and believe” lie. http://www.amazon.com/Saviors-Beyond-Qumran-Hammadi-Testament/dp/1441545689/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1329602738&sr=1-1

    • Achrachno
      Posted April 8, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Well, that made little sense. Please try again.

    • Heintje
      Posted April 8, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      What’s the deal with cranks, religious or not alike, and their penchant for gratuitous capitalization? I bet this would make a fascinating research topic for psychology. Any taker?

      • sahansdal
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 12:52 am | Permalink

        Heintje,

        Is that comment directed at my post above? Listen, I am not a crank, and I don’t appreciate being called that, first off. Now: There is no ITALIC function on this message board, at least I am not aware of one. How else to emphasize? I sometimes use *asterisks* — is that preferable?

        If there are cranks about, it may be that you are a crank. You seem awfully “cranky”. Good grief. I’ll just bet you are a Christian.

  26. Posted April 8, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Well, as Baptists wishing Jews a Happy Passover is progress.

  27. Cathy
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    I love the crunch too. The’ve got to be stale!!

  28. Liz Naples
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    That church sign just rubs me the wrong way.
    It smacks of condescension and smug-assery. They can all go to their own personal hell.

  29. stevehayes13
    Posted April 16, 2012 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Talking of strange foodstuffs.

    You might be interested in this. Homeland Security are. They assiduously work to prevent tens of thousands of them for ever entering your country.

    http://www.thoughts.com/stevehayes13/the-reassurance-of-security


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