Peeps

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Peeps
Pink peeps.jpg
Place of origin United States
Creator(s) Rodda Candy Company
Main ingredient(s) sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin

Peeps are marshmallow candies, sold in the United States and Canada, that are shaped into chicks, bunnies, and other animals. There are also different shapes used for various holidays. Peeps are used primarily to fill Easter baskets, though recent advertising campaigns market the candy as "Peeps - Always in Season", as Peeps has since expanded to include Halloween, Christmas and Valentine's Day. They are made from sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, and various food dyes.

History[edit]

Peeps bunnies in an Easter basket

Peeps are produced by Just Born,[1] a candy manufacturer founded in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, by Russian immigrant Sam Born. In 1953, Just Born acquired the Rodda Candy Company and its marshmallow chick line, and replaced the painstaking process of hand-forming the chicks with mass production.[2] When founder Sam Born would display a sign for his freshly-made candy, he would title it "Just Born," playing off of his last name and the fact that he made his candy fresh daily.[3] According to Mary Bellis, the newly purchased company, Just Born, was soon the "largest marshmallow candy manufacturer in the world." New shapes other than the chicks were produced following a theme according to the season starting in the 1960s. Twenty years later, the Marshmallow Peeps Bunny was released as a popular year round shape of the candy.[4] The yellow chicks were the original form of the candy — hence their name — but then the company introduced other colors and, eventually, the myriad shapes in which they are now produced. Peeps were manufactured in different colors such as lavender and blue starting in 1995. Prior to that they were only being produced in the traditional colors: pink, white, and yellow. New flavors such as vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate were introduced between the years of 1999 and 2002.[5]

In 2009, Just Born expanded the Peeps product line further by introducing Peeps Lip Balm in four flavors: grape, strawberry, vanilla, and cotton candy.[6] Just Born has come out with several other various accessories. Items such as nail polish, wrist bands, umbrellas, golf gloves, earrings, and necklaces are produced and sold online and in retail stores. Other companies have produced items based off the popular Peeps candy. Peeps micro bead pillows were made by Kaboodle and conform to one's shape. The company Kaboodle promises that "they'll last a lot longer than their edible counterpart!" [7] Ranging from infant sizes to adult sizes, Peeps Halloween costumes can also be found on the shelves of several costume stores. The first Peeps & Co. store opened in November 2009 in Prince George's County.[8] Peeps & Company retail stores were later opened in Minnesota, and Pennsylvania.[9]

Seasonal Products[edit]

Peeps released special flavored Peeps depending on the holiday/season. In the summer, lemonade and bubblegum-flavored Marshmallow Chicks are manufactured. For Valentine’s Day, Peeps produces a variety of marshmallow treats such as Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Crème Flavored Chicks, Chocolate Mousse Flavored Marshmallow Bears, and Chocolate Covered Raspberry Flavored Heart. Come Easter, all the original Marshmallow Bunnies and Chicks are released as well as other ones such as Chocolate Mousse Flavored Bunnies and Chocolate Dipped Marshmallow Chicks. During Halloween, no Marshmallow Bunnies are released; however, Chocolate-Dipped Orange Chicks, Marshmallow Pumpkins, Marshmallow Ghosts, Chocolate Mousse Flavored Cats, and Snack-Size Marshmallow Chicks are put on shelves for sale. A new release as of 2013, the Snack-Size Marshmallow Chicks are intended for passing out to trick-or-treaters on Halloween and come in various colors including purple, green, and orange. With Christmas brings several different flavors and colors. Chocolate-Dipped Candy Cane Flavored Marshmallow Chicks, Chocolate-Dipped Sugar Cookie Flavored Marshmallow Chicks, Chocolate-Dipped Caramel Flavored Marshmallow Chicks, and Gingerbread Flavored Marshmallow Gingerbread Men are all released specially flavored to the Christmas theme. Different shapes including Marshmallow Candy Cane Flavored Stars, Marshmallow Reindeer, Marshmallow Christmas Trees, and Marshmallow Snowmen are also produced.[10]

Contests and competitions[edit]

Orange pumpkin Halloween Peeps

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. The first such event was arranged by Shawn Sparks in 1994, and had only six participants.[11] Dave Smith started Sacramento's record-holding (102 eaten) annual Peep Off after contacting Jack Eidsness, a participant in the first Peep Off, with a question about it, through Mr. Eidsness' Peep-themed website.[12][13] Another contest in Maryland asks that participants create a diorama of a culturally important scene from the modern era. Peeps must be somehow included of course. The winner gets 2 free inflatable life jackets.[14]

The popular YouTuber John Green has stated (after several peep eating competitions with his brother and other Nerdfighters) that it is impossible to eat more than 12 and a half peeps in a single sitting.[15]

Several newspapers hold annual contests in which readers submit photos of dioramas featuring Peeps. The St. Paul Pioneer Press was the first paper to hold such a contest.[citation needed] Similar contests are put on by The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and the Seattle Times. These contests frequently correspond with the Easter holiday. MIT also has a yearly Peeps contest.[16]

The Universal Record Database has many world records that involve Peeps.[17]

The Racine Art Museum is sponsoring the International Peeps Competition from April 1–28. Anyone can enter the contest, centered around the theme "peep-powered work of art".[18]

The following are other contests held in various states. Peeps jousting consists of putting two Marshmallow Chicks into the microwave and seeing which one gets the biggest and therefore affects/deforms the other. "Peepza" is a dessert pizza made with Peeps. Also, blogs were created according to Fox News entitled "101 Fun Ways to Torture a Peep."[19]

Alleged indestructibility[edit]

Peeps are sometimes jokingly described as "indestructible". In 1999, scientists at Emory University jokingly[20] 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.[21] In addition to discussing whether Peeps migrate or evolve, they claimed that the eyes of the confectionery "wouldn't dissolve in anything".[22] The site also claims that Peeps are insoluble in acetone, water, diluted sulfuric acid, and sodium hydroxide (the web site also claims that the Peeps experimental subjects sign release forms).[23] Concentrated sulfuric acid seems to have effects similar to the expected effects of sulfuric acid on sugar.[24]

This debate was featured in an episode of the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle ("Traffic Jam"), in which Francis, insisting the "Quacks" (as they were called) would dissolve in his stomach rather than expand, takes up the dare to eat 100 of them, doing so, but getting very sick in the process.

Public Relations[edit]

Barry Church, a football player for the Dallas Cowboys, was unable to attend training camp upon an unexpected root canal. PEEPS offered Church a season's supply of their product in that marshmallows are a lot softer on the teeth as opposed to a jolly rancher which caused Church's root canal.[25]

Recipes using Peeps[edit]

Several recipes and creative ideas to alter Peeps have been invented. Fox News Magazine published an article in 2013 including several recipes from various creators, including Peeps smores, home-made chocolate covered Peeps, Peeps marshmallow chocolate chip cookies, Peeps brownies, Peeps popcorn, Peeps frosting, Peeps Krispie treats, and Peeps syrup.[26]

A recipe for "Peepshi" involves placing a peep onto a Rice Krispie treat and wrapping it in Fruit by the Foot, to create a single "Peepshi roll" in the style of a sushi roll.[27]

In popular culture[edit]

On April 22, 2014 Adam Rifkin acquired the feature film and TV rights to the classic candies to make a franchise on it.[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lehner, Marla (2003-04-17). "The Power of Peeps". Fox News. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  2. ^ "Peeps: A candy and a technological wonder". USA Today. Associated Press. 2003-04-16. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  3. ^ "Fun Facts About Just Born Candies." Fun Facts About Just Born Candies. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2013. <http://www.justborn.com/just-for-fun/fun-facts>.
  4. ^ Bellis, Mary. "The History of Marshmallow Peeps." About.com Inventors. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2013. <http://inventors.about.com/od/foodrelatedinventions/a/marshmallows_2.htm>.
  5. ^ Bellis, Mary. "The History of Marshmallow Peeps." About.com Inventors. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2013. <http://inventors.about.com/od/foodrelatedinventions/a/marshmallows_2.htm>.
  6. ^ Zimmer, Erin (April 2, 2009). Peeps Lip Balm, Reviewed. 
  7. ^ "Large Peeps® Microbead Pillows." Kaboodle. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2013. <http://www.kaboodle.com/reviews/large-peeps-microbead-pillows>.
  8. ^ Mui, Ylan Q. (July 9, 2009). "Peeps Are Hopping to Their Own Store at National Harbor". WashingtonPost.com. 
  9. ^ "The History of Peeps." Fox News. FOX News Network, 8 Mar. 2013. Web. 05 Nov. 2013. <http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2013/03/08/history-peeps/>.
  10. ^ "BROWSE OUR SHOW & SHARE GALLERY!" Peeps. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2013. <http://www.marshmallowpeeps.com/product-detail/halloween/snack-size-marshmallow-chicks>.
  11. ^ Jack Eidsness (before April 1996). "The unofficial Marshmallow Peep page". Retrieved 2007-07-09.  [dubious ]
  12. ^ Vincent P. Bzdek (11 April 2004). "50 years of turning Easter into one big Peeps show". Oakland Tribune (reprinted from Washington Post article). Retrieved 2007-08-09. 
  13. ^ First Peeps store is a mecca for all their 'peeple', Los Angeles Times, December 11, 2009
  14. ^ "Peeps Madness | Bay Weekly." Peeps Madness | Bay Weekly. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2013. <http://bayweekly.com/articles/creature-feature/article/peeps-madness>.
  15. ^ Green, John. "Peeptastic". Retrieved 9 March 2007. 
  16. ^ Alum.mit.edu
  17. ^ "Peep World Records". Retrieved 2010-04-02. [dubious ]
  18. ^ Zagat Buzz Blog: It's Peeps Art Time! March 22, 2011
  19. ^ "The History of Peeps." Fox News. FOX News Network, 8 Mar. 2013. Web. 05 Nov. 2013. <http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2013/03/08/history-peeps/>.
  20. ^ "Emory pair unlocks the mystery of Peeps". Emory Report. Emory University. 1999-03-29. Retrieved 2012-07-02. 
  21. ^ Severson, Kim (April 3, 1999). "Peeps Rule Roost / Easter's unofficial marshmallow treat now a chic and easy target to spoof". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  22. ^ "What Do You Call a Guy Who Cuts Apart Peeps?". U S News. October 3, 1999. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  23. ^ "solubility". Peepresearch.org. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  24. ^ "Peep Wars: Revenge of the Mole". Students.millikin.edu. 2005-10-23. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  25. ^ "Barry Church Gets Candy Offer." News. N.p., 1 Aug. 2013. Web. 05 Nov. 2013. <http://www.marshmallowpeeps.com/news>.
  26. ^ "8 Recipes To Make With Peeps This Easter." Fox News Magazine. N.p., 26 Mar. 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2013. <http://magazine.foxnews.com/food-wellness/8-easter-recipes-call-peeps>.
  27. ^ Kang, Grace. "Serious Eats - Seriouseats.com." Serious Eats. N.p., 31 Mar. 2010. Web. 10 Nov. 2013. <http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2010/03/peeps-recipes-how-to-make-peepshi-sushi-rice-krispies-treats-easter.html>.
  28. ^ "Adam Rifkin Eyes ‘Peeps’ Classic Candy Treats For Animated Film & TV Franchise". deadline.com. 22 April 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 

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