Although this year has definitely been one big exception, I am usually very careful about what I eat and drink. Here are things that I do not eat:
- partially hydrogenated oils/man-made trans-fats
- high fructose corn syrup/fructose/corn sugar/whatever other name has been invented to disguise this particular product
- deli meat, because I like to save my occasional nitrate and nitrite consumption for really delicious things like bacon and sausage
- I do my best with artificial preservatives and colors, but I had never heard of nor eaten red velvet cake until I was 23 years old, so I have a lifetime of catching up to do.
Once a year, I make a huge exception for the greatest Easter candy ever: Peeps!
Peeps are a wonderful tidbit of American culture. Peeps are marshmallow chicks rolled in colored sugar. In other words, they are pure poison. They come in an array of shocking colors that are so vivid, you can actually taste the dye. Most people actually have a favorite color (read: flavor) for that very reason. Most Peep connoisseurs also have some idiosyncratic way of eating them. Some people open the package and let them sit overnight so that the Peeps get a little hard and stale. Others like to pop their Peeps in the microwave for a few seconds, where they watch them expand into monstrous giant chicks before gobbling up the warm, gooey bodies. My favorite is the classic yellow Peep, straight out of its freshly-opened package. I also don’t go in for any other shape. What can I say? I’m an old-fashioned girl.
My mother-in-law sent over a few packages of Peeps before Easter. I decided that this would be my cultural contribution to Gymnasium Damme. Although I got the package in the mail before Easter, I decided to wait since a lot of my friends at work were fasting for Lent. After school started again, I brought the little guys in and set them on the table in the teachers’ lounge. They invited many a wary look, but the best reactions were the comments. Here are some examples of what my German colleagues had to say about Peeps:
- “Those look absolutely poisonous.”
- “Is that some of your American GMO food?”
- “Sorry, Heidi, but no.”
- “Why don’t you give them to the kids? They’ll eat them for sure.”
- Colleague: “Aw, those are cute.”
- Me: “This is a typical American Easter candy. Try one!”
- Stunned colleague: “You can eat those???”
My explanation that they were sort of “disgusting delicious” didn’t really help my case. I finally convinced a handful of people to try them. Most of them said either that they weren’t as gross as they looked, or that they didn’t taste like anything, both of which are true. We don’t eat Peeps because they’re the really tasty; we eat Peeps for the same reason we watch A Christmas Story for 24 hours on Christmas Eve: because Time Warner owns the rights to many MGM films. (Just kidding, although that’s true.) We eat Peeps because we ate them as kids. Peeps are pure nostalgia. Pure, squishy, sugar-coated nostalgia.
Have a look at the Peep links below. How do you eat your Peeps? I’d love to hear. 🙂