Tuesday, April 16, 2013

1966 Pagan Peeps

Easter is passed, and with it the Easter foods we ate. Like real eggs, chocolate eggs, and Peeps.
Interesting how we cling so tenaciously to our pagan symbols of fertility, that we even extend them way beyond their natural sources into stylized candy versions.
It certainly made sense, back in the early days, for us to make a fetish of fresh eggs and hopping bunny rabbits, trapped, trussed, and skewered on a spit.
At some point hard-boiled eggs entered the picture, we spiced them a bit, and called them deviled eggs. Perhaps because early versions, produced with primitive sanitary cooking methods, got bacteria in them and led to the feeling of demons in your tummy.
Little chicks hatching got the fertility brand of approval as well. Peeping all over the place and generally looking cute and funny. No wonder today's marshmallow version is so popular. Ah, the Peep. The original more blob than chicken, an impressionistic extruded sculpture of the real thing. Even an impressionistic rendering of the real taste of the marshmallow it's made of as well.
And what fun. From creating dioramas of Peep-les for Easter contests, to putting them in a microwave and watching them expand to the size of a soccer ball, Peeps are more than just food.
They're fertile for the scientific mind as well. One researcher kept a Peep out for a year to see if it was still edible. It was. Smaller, chewier certainly, but edible nonetheless. It had descended from marshmallow to something more like nougat.
Or, dare I say it, Peep Jerky.
The ideal camping food. For a quick carbohydrate pick-me-up, Peep Jerky for the hike. And perfect for the marshmallow roast at the campfire later on.
A swelling Peep skewered on a spit.
America, ya gotta love it.

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