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: