Mmm, Peeps. Nothing says springtime like a gooey, marshmallowey Peep. Peeps are a marshmallow treat usually marketed around Easter time, commonly in the shape of a bunny or little chick, and you can do several interesting things with them aside from eat them headfirst. Here are some other fun facts you might like to know about Peeps.

  • Peeps are manufactured by Just Born, Inc., a confectioner in Bethlehem, PA that also makes Hot Tamales and Mike and Ike candies. Next time you bite the head off of one of those yellow marshmallow chicks, remember it was made by a company called "Just Born." Mmm.
  • Peeps actually have their own website,! There is a fan club, recipes, and historical information about Peeps. The Just Born company got its name long before the first Peep was spooted out -- it was begun by Russian emigrant Samuel Born in 1923 as a Brooklyn storefront. The first Peeps were made in the 1950s, after Just Born acquired another candy company that specialized in marshmallow treats.
  • Peeps will turn rock-hard after only a few months sitting out in the open. A coworker of mine is a long-time Peeps fan. He has left a pink Peep sitting on his office windowsill for several years now, and it is completely resistant to elastic deformation. It also has enough shear strength to support several heavy books without crumbling.
  • Pink Peeps elicit dominance displays in certain reptiles. The aforementioned windowsill-inhabiting Peep consistently attracts the attention of anole lizards outside the window, who come by to turn a vivid green and perform their pushups to impress the intruder with their machismo.

Here are just a few actual Fun Facts taken from the Peeps website:

  • Strange things people like to do with Marshmallow Peeps: eat
    them stale, microwave them, freeze them, roast them, and use
    them as a pizza topping.

  • Each Peep has 32 calories (160 calories per five-chick
    serving) and 0 fat grams.

  • In 1953, it took 27 hours to create one Marshmallow Peep.
    Today, it takes six minutes.

hideous marshmallow texture--approximately as unpleasant as Hostess Snowballs, but hideous in a different way.
One Month:
Much better. They now have some body to them.
One Year:
Two Years:
Crunchy, like the marshmallows in Lucky Charms.

Most people like peeps best stale. Sort of like Circus Peanuts and licorice.

I had two-year-old peeps at burning man last year. I now have a peeps cellar.

There are now red valentine peeps, unfortunately, they are strawberry flavored.

a sugar covered marshmallow delight. they are often in the shapes of chicks or bunnies and they are usually yellow, pink, or blue. chick and bunny peeps are found almost exclusively near easter time (but they're the best). these suckers will also blow up in the microwave after a couple of seconds on high heat.

for a peep fight:

  1. find a friend (a family member might also work).
  2. choose your peeps.
  3. put the two peeps on a plate about an inch apart.
  4. place the plate into the microwave and set for 30 seconds.
  5. hit the start button for an awesome match.
  6. enjoy.
the peep who falls first is the loser. once you have won, you may devour both the winner and loser for competing. mmm... peeps.

Marshmallow Peeps are made by Just Born, Inc.. The first peep was hand made by the Rodda Candy Company of Lancaster, Pennsylvania a process taking 27 hours for one peep, but the process was mechanized by Just Born after they acquired the Rodda Company, now it only takes 6 minutes for one peep to be created, and 3.8 million peeps are created a day. A mixture of peep ingredients is called slurry, the slurry is whipped to give the marshmallow a fluffy texture. Marshmallow peeps (and the marshmallow bunnies) come in pink, white, yellow, lavender, and blue. (Though there are other marshmallow products like Snowmen and Trees for Christmas, Pumpkins, Cats and Ghosts for Halloween that come in other colors.) The peeps are covered in sugar while on large conveyor belts. Bunnie peeps have to be hand wrapped by “marshmallow packing experts”. For more information of the peep making process check out:

Peeps are a rather scary food item because they are almost impossible to destroy. They don’t dissolve in water, or bleach for that matter (just lose their color). If you microwave them they swell up to enormous sizes, the same for if you try and burn them. No doubt after a nuclear meltdown all that would be left would be the cockroaches and the peeps. They are also amusing to put in a vacuum. (yes I've had personal experience with doing all these things to peeps, as well as staking them and leaving them outside my college's administrative) building.)

Scott Westerfeld
Parasite Positive (Britain)
V-Virus (Canada)
Razorbill, 2005

Peeps is a young adult science fiction novel; it is also a teen-aged vampire novel, and a bit of a science documentary type nerd-fest (of the good kind) as well. It comes across as a mainstreamed combination of Twilight and The Host, but as it was written three years before Stephanie Meyer started writing, Peeps is clearly a savant of the teenage-vampire genre.

This is the story of Cal; a freshman college student who made the mistake of sleeping with a vampire. He was lucky -- he didn't turn into a vampire/ghoul, but instead found himself as a mostly-human carrier of vampirism. This is a pretty good deal, overall. He is faster and stronger, can see in the dark and has super hearing. He craves protein and eats constantly, but he doesn't have the urge to eat people. This is a one-in-a-hundred chance, and automatically inducts him as a member of the Night Watch, an organization that captures the less fortunate, fully infected vampires and treats them -- or destroys them, if necessary.

These vampires are not traditional blood-sucking, cape-wearing Draculas. In many ways, they are closer to ghouls or zombies. They are scared of light, and live in dark spaces surrounded by broods of rats; they feed on other humans, but eat them whole. They are insane, having lost all higher cognitive function, but they make up for this by having heightened senses and being super fast and super strong.

What sets Peeps apart is the science behind the monsters -- they are infected by a parasite (peeps is short for 'parasite-positives'); and while the peep parasite isn't described in any great detail, other parasites are. Westerfeld gives us background on toxoplasmosis, Guinea worm, trematodes, malaria, lancet flukes, screwworms, and others. And he throws in lessons on epidemiology and ecology while he's at it, and mentions fun things like rat kings and various bits of mythology. The factual background is enough to convince the reader that the vampire parasite is a viable plot device, and that the world is a pretty cool place even if vampires are imaginary.

You may have noticed that I haven't said much about the plot. I could; Cal is put in charge of hunting down and containing everyone he had accidently infected, and then the woman who had infected him. While completing this task, he meets a nice uninfected girl and a few thousand evil rats. It quickly becomes apparent that the nice girl and the rats are all part of a greater mystery, an evil that makes cannibalistic ghouls look like small fry... In other words, just about exactly what you would expect.

This is a pretty good book, but it has some drawbacks. The main character is kind of immature, compounded by the fact that the parasite makes carriers very horny (to help them spread); making a horny college freshman the main character somewhat limits the number of people who will identify with him. Peeps also takes a bit to get out of cheesy horror-movie mode, and throughout the book the Night Watch continues to have a slightly cheesy flavor. And the main love interest uses the word 'dude' much to often. But these downsides are worth ignoring if you like teenage vampire novels, if you like geeking out over science when reading SF, or if you like Scott Westerfeld.

If you are scouting this book to decide if it is appropriate reading for your kid (or yourself), you may have already gathered that it is not as young-adulty as most books in the young adult section. It is generally recommended for ages 14 and up (grades 9-12), and doesn't have any graphic sex scenes -- but Cal does think about sex a lot and not in a particularly romantic fashion. It's not anything worse than the average TV sitcom, but at the same time I wouldn't recommend it to someone else for their children unless I knew where they stood on such matters. At the same time, it is probably a bit light for most older readers, making it rather limited in readership. Which is a pity, because it's a fun read.

There is a sequel to Peeps, The Last Days.

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