Monday, April 10, 2017

The Colorful History of Peeps

I found the following article fun and hope you will too. Happy Easter 2017-BBL

The Black Peep Scandal: An Easter Candy Mystery

The Black Sheep Peep Scandal of 1912.
The Black Sheep Peep Scandal of 1912. (
Fruitcake at Christmas, hot dogs on July Fourth, beer for St. Patrick’s, turkey on Thanksgiving. And, the quintessential American food favorite for Easter?
Hanging with their Peeps.
Hanging with their Peeps.
Surpassing the hard-boiled matter once those decorated eggs are cracked, not to mention asparagus, jellybeans, lamb or ham, and selling at an annual rate of over 5 million is the beloved, almighty and ubiquitous colored-sugar marshmallow Peep.
Peeps and Pop Art: Perfect Marriage.
Peeps and Pop Art: Perfect Marriage.
Peeps have found purpose in the wide Pop Culture beyond its sweet taste and grainy-smooth mouth feel. For a few years in the late 1990s there was a kooky college kid craze of Spring Breakers popping Peeps in microwaves. Annual art contests are now conducted using Peeps.
Peeps are used in Ambrosia Salad recipes. They serve as a non-sticky version of the key ingredient to S’Mores. They’re used as topping for dessert pizzas. They’ve been arranged onto long wires to substitute as bouquets of spring flowers.
Peeps Warhol Marilyn Monroe.
Peeps Warhol Marilyn.
There were experiments conducted to see how long it would take before a box of opened Peeps would completely harden into a brick – many of which failed due to weakened resistance of those who let their need for a sugar rush get the best of them.
They’re used on wedding cakes and as a medium for sarcastic, allegorical tableaux. Any lingering doubt about the Pop Power of Peeps is, in fact, laid to rest this Easter season by the release (in 2013) of an official portrait of the Lord Mayor of Lost Angeles, master of mid-century modernism himself Charles Phoenix, who posed with his visionary manifestation Astro Easter Tree, populated by a plentiful potpourri of Peeps on an aluminum-wrapped styrofoam trunk.
This year, Peeps were pronounced part of Pop Culture officialdom by Lost Angeles Lord Mayor Charles Phoenix.
 Peeps were pronounced part of Pop Culture officialdom by Lost Angeles Lord Mayor Charles Phoenix.
All this Easterly irreverence is just fine by the company that makes them.
Old-school Peeps had wings.
Old-school Peeps had wings.
In fact, ever since 1995, it’s been the manufacturer of Peeps itself, the Just Born Company of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which has been pushing the mushy old birds into the future, literally clipping off their former back wings and giving them full flight into the mouths and imaginations of Americans.
That was the year Peeps began rising to reach critical mass, the very first season when purple Peeps were introduced to the old-school line of pink, yellow and white ones.
21st Century Peeps of colors across a wide palette.
21st Century Peeps of colors across a wide palette.
Three years later, the company conducted a deft public relations contest, asking Peep-peoples around the globe to vote on the next color they wanted to eat: in 1998, the blue Peeps joined the pack.
Nostalgic Peepers fondly recall the simpler, earlier incarnations, and often point out that for many a long decade one could engorge at even the Winter Holiday Season upon what was technically Peeps-material, the yellow chick transmorgraphied into Santa Claus form.
Still, in an age when any kid can watch a Charlie Brown Christmas on any day of the year at any hour on an Android phone, another small chink in the overall destruction of disciplines such as patience and anticipation, that same sense of wait-for-it-once-a-year is now being practically upheld in the mass culture by Easter Peeps alone. Who cares if you can get a marshmallow Santa a full four months before Easter or how it tastes exactly the same – a Santa is not a Peep. Those neon candy baby fowl can only begin lo brighten the aisles at Drug Fair once the chocolate mint shamrocks are in the half-price bin but before the striped summer umbrellas appear. Peeps come but once a year.
All types of Peep innovations continued on into the new century, including the appearance of them also in green and orange and flavored in strawberry, vanilla, chocolate, and mint. The 21st century Peep, however, is basically the same: what has changed its how pervasive the Peep image has become.  In just the last year, for example, the first of three Peeps Stores have opened in Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Peeps-mobile parked outside the first Peeps Store.
Peeps-mobile parked outside the first Peeps Store.
The Pope-mobile seems to have nothing over the new Peep-Mobile.
And for those inclined to dress like it was Halloween at Easter, there’s even now an official Peeps costume.
The result is that over 1 billion Peeps are freshly-born annually.
Peeper and friend in Peeps costume.
Peeper and friend in Peeps costume.
The considerable effort to make us a Peeps Nation has been brilliantly shepherded by Ross Born, grandson of the original owner of the candy company.
The pinnacle of Peeps public relations came a decade ago when the company marked its 50th Anniversary in 2003.
In reaching the half-century benchmark, Peeps became to chirp a bit louder about its longevity, and the effort began to organize and disseminate the story of just how we came to love the sweet little things for public consumption.

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