Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Peep? Peep?

Okay - I'll admit it. I'm a fan of Marshmallow Peeps. You know -- those marshmallow treats shaped like little chicks. Well, not eating them -- they're too sugary. But the concept of them.

Of course, when I was a kid, they were one of the staples in the Easter basket, along with the jelly beans and foil-wrapped chocolate eggs. Inevitably, the plastic Easter basket grass would become stuck to the Peeps scar where they'd been separated and raw marshmallow remained. And it goes without saying that they were stale five minutes after the Easter bunny left them.

At that time, naturally, there were only yellow Peeps (as it should be). With line extensions, Peeps are now a multitude of spring colors that honorable chicks would never choose for themselves. A few years ago, Target had the exclusive on red Peeps. And now, Peeps products are available nearly year round. You can find Valentine's hearts and Christmas trees, gingerbread men and snowmen. There are now even Peeps cats and ghosts for Halloween. Imagine that in your treat bag.

Fueled perhaps by nostalgia, the internet is rife with websites with alternative uses for Peeps. Some are purely food related. My mom, not the most whimsical person in the world, surprised us a few years ago by using Peeps as marshmallows on top of the sweet potatoes for Easter.

Others are more artistic -- like the "Peeps show" strip club. Yet more are focused on making a statement -- like the Peeps Stations of the Cross, which I can only imagine was a protest against the commercialization of the holiest day on the Christian calendar. (Easter bunny: harmless childhood icon, or godless infidel?)

A few years ago, I decided to use Peeps to make a statement about the dangers of nuclear proliferation. Here's a small part of the photo montage:

(Warning: children and those with weak hearts should go no further)

Before the carnage.

Just a brief exposure can be extremely deleterious (microwave: one minute on high)

The aftermath.

A sad commentary on the power of atomic energy, perhaps, but also yummy when combined with chocolate-covered graham crackers.

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