Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Peeps still rule the candy aisle



     Peeps are back in, or did they ever leave the candy aisle?
     Other than getting a shaky sugar-high, eating a Peep is munching on emptiness. You get little worthwhile for your investment.
     Compare that statement to political campaign rhetoric. That’s as deep as I will put my toes into the arena. I’d rather nibble on Trail mix.
     Little did I anticipate that my Facebook page would be inundated with comments.

     I was anticipating a chuckle here and there, and maybe a smattering of likes. In its place, I struck a nerve - a very, deep- seated coveting for sucrose.
     Boy, was I wrong about those little treats neatly lined up in rows like a marching band displayed in a plain carton covered with clear plastic wrap.
     Soon Peeps became a trending topic on my Facebook page, and I got miles of free publicity. Peeps are the victor in the popularity contest.
     From, “I love Peeps,” to poems and saber-sharp comments such as, “Peep shows rule,” I learned that Peeps are alive and well just like their devoted fan club.
     One mom wrote, “__’s antibiotic is so nasty she has been downing it and eating a Peep, followed by drinking water. A peep =  a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down in the most delightful way!”
     “Sweet,” I replied. (That wasn’t very original.)


     A writer friend who regularly posts in verse on Facebook cleverly said,
“Poor little bo
fell fast asleep
only to find her basket with peeps
all spilt and dry beside
when she woke to a poke
and ran over hillocks to sing
as loud as she could nearby
but to no avail
for the first day or rain
they floated downstream
and left their coatings behind them.”

     Those pastel marshmallow Peeps are having a renaissance like Star Wars and hula-hoops. No longer just an Easter candy when the business was established in the 50s, Peeps are found year round.
     What a smart company to capitalize on success and tackle every American holiday. Super Bowl Sunday with Peeps and beer.
    At least with the new Star Wars mania you can count on the force with you while shoveling down empty calories, getting a sick stomach and a mega headache from too many Peeps.


     As for hula-hoops, you whittle the waistline down if you can handle hours of wiggling your hips. Certainly it is not an activity for compromised body parts in any way.
     One Facebook friend told me that his body has been holding together with rubber bands for years, and he would no more attempt doing a hula-hoop routine than jumping into Conesus Lake in mid April for the Vincent House Polar Plunge.
     Someone else suggested that they leave hula-hoops to the grandkids, and instead, show them pictures when they were in their prime. And eating Peeps, too. You know you did.
     A friend texted me – she didn’t want this out to the public - that Peeps s’mores, home-made chocolate covered Peeps, Peeps marshmallow chocolate chip cookies were a few of her regular recipes.

     Peeps are made from sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, and various food dyes.  - in other words, every ingredient that is bad for you, but oh, so delicious to the taste, or so you say.
     An annual "Peep Off" competition is held in Maryland on the first Saturday after Easter, when Peeps are greatly discounted, to see who can eat the most in 30 minutes.
     A contest –not verified by Guinness, though - was recently held and if you ate so many Peeps this Easter that you felt like you can't eat any more, then you're just an amateur compared to Matt Stonie. 
     Stonie is a competitive eater who celebrated the Easter holiday by downing 200 of the marshmallow treats in about 14 minutes. If you're counting, that's 5,600 calories and 1,360 grams of sugar in one sitting.
     If you want to watch this “meaningful and informative” video, here’s the link.
     Another Peeps contest states, “Do you have an excessive amount of Peeps sitting around your house after Easter? You should send them to a guy who devours them by the dozens. 100 Peeps in two minutes.”
      Really? That’s a handful of trivia I could live without.

     I was shoved out of the way near the sale display of candy the day after Easter, when large and small hands were grabbing Peeps as if they might vanish from the earth.  
     I will own up right here. As a kid, whenever I went into a store and no one was looking, I’d squeeze the living daylights out of one those little Peeps.
     Peeps do get stale. Trust me. I know since I pushed them aside in my Easter basket as a kid. I’d open the package, take in whiffs of its disgusting smell and hide those critters in my closet. My cat would not take on Peeps even in his most desperate hour.
     As marshmallow ages exposed to air, it dehydrates becoming "stale" and slightly crunchy. According to Just Born, the Peeps parent company, 25%-30% of their customers prefer eating Peeps stale.
     Are you in, or out on that one?
     The Racine Art Museum sponsors the International Peeps Competition from April 1–28. Anyone can enter the contest around the theme, "peep-powered work of art." I suppose those hardy folks in Wisconsin know how to spend their days when spring weather has barely peeped.
     I give up. I’m moving on and investigating why the gram weight of Snickers candy bars has reduced while the price remains the same.