We love Peeps. How can we not?
Anyone who is not wholly enamored by the gushy little marshmallow candy is not a true American.
Peeps have everything this country craves: a highly synthetic makeup, bulk packaging and sugar, sugar, sugar.
Heck, Peeps may even be more American than baseball, apple pie or really bad reality TV.
Peeps are even evolving to fit our times. They are politically correct – now in six colors – and fit in with any diet or lifestyle – now with a few designs in sugar-free. The Christmas line is called the “holiday” variety and Peeps are also customized for Valentine’s and Halloween.
For the first time ever, a Peeps fest graced the streets of the company’s hometown Bethlehem, Penn., as part of the holiday celebration in December.
Sam Born is the driving force behind the mushy little critters who started the “Just Born” chocolate company in 1917. Even though he didn’t invent Peeps per se – but rather acquired the Peeps-making Rodda Candy Company in 1953 – the guy was a genius.
One of Sam’s brilliant inventions was a machine that automatically put sticks in lollipops, surely saving trillions of man hours and ensuring Kojak had a trademark.
Sam’s brother, Bob, was just as savvy. He came up with a way to mass produce Peeps in 1954.
Each marshmallow chick used to take 27 hours to make by hand while lovingly squirting marshmallow goo out of a pastry tube. Now machines crank out thousands of Peeps, with each candy taking six minutes each.
The only thing still done by hand is the addition of the eyeballs and any designs. People must be clamoring to work in the eyeball section of the Peep factory.
By the 1960s, Peeps got their sticky fingers into the Halloween and holiday markets, with pumpkins, black cats, snowmen and Christmas trees. In the 1980s they started cranking out more festive designs that even included a giant marshmallow bunny.
Once the 1990s hit, Peeps just went crazy adding more colors, more designs, more holidays, new packaging and even Peeps decorating kits where you can hook up a Peeps jack-o-lantern with a little tube of black something. If that’s not enough, Peep chicks now come nestled inside a chocolate egg and new flavors are on the market.
Some Peeps are formulated to taste like vanilla cream, cookies and cocoa.
We’re on Peeps overload – and we couldn’t be happier.
Our first love of Peeps may have stemmed from being allowed to eat all that pure sugar before breakfast on Easter and other holiday mornings. A box or two of Peeps makes Frankenberry healthier than flax and granola.
Even if we gave up eating Peeps because it’s become too painful to come down from a sugar rush, we can still adore the concept.
We can always keep them close to our hearts.
And we can always proclaim our true nature: “I must be American because I love Peeps.”
Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and TucsonCitizen.com Ryngmaster who loves Peeps nearly as much as she loves Sawyer. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. Her art, writing and more is at RynRules.com and Rynski.Etsy.com. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
BONUS! Peeps peep show: