Tis the season when we welcome back the Peeps. The real Peeps. Not the pumpkin Peeps or the Christmas tree Peeps. And god no, not the Peeps Nog that made me vomit a little behind the day old bread display at Safeway. Even my pallet is more refined than that.
We keep it real in my family. I won’t name names, but there are two of us (my dad and I) with really good taste (and exceptional wit and freakishly strong legs) who love Peeps. What’s that you say? Peeps are gross? WRONG! You probably hate candy corn too, don’t you? (WRONG AGAIN!) But Peeps are divisive. I get it. They’re like the Gweneth Paltrow of delicious marshmallow seasonL confections. If you hate Peeps I am sad for you because clearly there was a noticeable void in your upbringing: You never learned the proper way to consume one.
But fear not. It’s never too late to learn. I’m re-posting an excerpt from The Harvest of the Peeps entry. Consider this a Public Service Announcement.
The Harvest of the Peeps
In my family we have many traditions but very few rival the tradition I share with the only other person who appreciates peeps as much as I do—my father. I grew up hearing my mother saying, “You are your father’s child.” I’m not sure if that was ever in question or if it’s meant to be some sort of endearment or maybe even an insult. There’s no denying my dad and I look alike. We have the same sense of humor, same “riiiiiiiiight, that’s what you think smirk,” same legs (is that weirder for him or for me?) and same philosophy of practically knighting the people in our lives we adore and putting the others through some sort of Jack Bauer-esqe mental decapitation trial before declaring them trite and unworthy like a discarded kitten toy shoved under the sofa. Fortunately those people are few and far between.
Our other similarity is we are both Peep aficionados and will agree there is only one kind of Peep: The Yellow Chick. Stop with the pink bunnies and green trees and orange pumpkins. Who’s running the product development department over there? Lucky the Leprechaun? My dad and I are old school. It’s all about the yellow chick and more importantly, the little chick’s head. As in, it’s always the first to go. It’s just so darn…bitable.
I remember a freezing spring day in college (it was upstate NY hence the freezing Spring) when a package arrived from my parents. Inside was the usual random array of lipstick castoffs from Estee Lauders latest free gift with purchase, cocktail napkins with funny expressions printed on them like “Put your big girl panties on and deal with it,” a spatula, pair of earrings, Reese’s peanut butter eggs, Cadbury Cream Eggs, black jelly beans—all from Mom and a 10-pack of yellow Peeps from Dad.
“Ew!” My roommate squealed. “Why are your parents sending you damaged candy? Couldn’t they wait until the day after Easter if they wanted a discount?”
She didn’t get what so many others don’t. What she was referring to was the knife slit across the top of the Peeps packaging. That was no accident, I explained. My dad was harvesting the Peeps. It was damn near the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me.
It takes one connoisseur to another to understand this delicate process. You can’t just bust open a package of Peeps and go at them. No! Peeps need to mature. They need to acquire just the right amount of staleness in order to achieve greatness. It’s a delicate balance and one that weighs heavily on instinct. When you’ve had a properly harvested Peep, you know it. And it will change your life. My dad was saving me the time and effort of harvesting my own Peeps. They were primed and ready. Prêt-à-Porte Peeps.
This year my Peeps arrived from Florida where my parents spend the winter. The harvest had begun early but alas, when the Peeps arrived there were two problems. Not to be an ingrate, but my much-anticipated package of 10 only had 9 Peeps in it. When I brought it up to my dad he had an interesting theory.
“The Peep flew the coop,” he said matter of fact. “Perhaps he flew South somewhere over Missouri?”
“Well his friends sure do miss him. I just can’t believe he’d up and leave like that.”
“It happens,” he said. “There’s a bad egg in every bunch.”
The second problem was the Peeps were nowhere near ready for consumption. My dad was shocked, as he had started the harvesting days before the Peeps went in the mail. We blame the humidity of Florida for a slow harvest. I wonder if anyone in Florida has had a properly harvested Peep. Probably not and that makes me sad.
The Peeps are currently residing on my desk at work where I check their progress every morning like a kindergartener checking on her mummified apple project. My co-workers claim to hate Peeps but yet they seem very interested in the status report.
“Soon, Grasshoppers,” I say. “Soon we shall harvest.”
So I implore you, fine people of the internet, to give the Peeps a second look when you see them surrounding you in the aisles this season. Reserve your judgment and your snide remarks. Why not give the harvest the chance? And remember to keep it real. The best Peep is a yellow Peep. Unless you’re decorating a cake in which case anything goes.