SPRING BRINGS PASSION OF THE PEEPS.
It has become a sign of spring, like daffodils blooming and frolicking lambs: The Peeps have hatched.
Little Peeps, big Peeps, yellow Peeps, pink Peeps, conjoined Peeps - hey, it's just fun to say Peeps!
As iconic as Pez and Spam, the sugar-coated marshmallow confection has catapulted beyond cult status, permeating mainstream culture in ways no candy chickens and bunnies have before.
The good Peeple who make Peeps at Just Born of Bethlehem, Pa., do brisk business during the Easter clamber for sweets. But they also make Halloween Peeps (spooky cats and cocoa bats), Christmas Peeps (snowmen and trees) and heart-shaped Valentine's Day Peeps.
You can buy Peeps T-shirts, join a Peeps fan club and catch up with the Peep Fun Bus as it rolls from city to city this spring on a fund-raising tour for Easter Seals.
Then there are the Web sites: a seemingly bottomless well of homages to all things Peep, from the whimsical to the macabre to the epic. Around the world, Peep geeks have documented their use of Peeps in science experiments, poems, recipes, vacation photo albums and art projects.
One of the more ambitious online appreciations, www.lordofthepeeps.com, stars an all-marshmallow cast in an exhaustive portrayal of the celebrated J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy.
Yes, Peeps rule. But how much do you really know about these Peeps? Take this multiple-choice test and find out. (And no peeping at the answers at the end!)
1. What is the primary ingredient in Peeps?
C. mallow marrow
2. Where does the name Peep come from?
A. It's an acronym for "perfectly edible elastic product"
B. It's short for the inventor, Hugo Peeplosokov
C. It was named for the company founder's pet rooster
D. It's the sound spring chicks make, dummy
3. How many Marshmallow Peeps and Bunnies are consumed by Americans each Easter season?
A. 80 million
B. 250 million
C. 700 million
D. 4 trillion
4. Which Peep color is most popular?
5. Which of the following is NOT a recipe on the official Peeps Web site (www.marshmallowpeeps.com)?
A. My Heart Peeps for You Cupcakes
B. Deep-Fried Peeps
C. Peeps Pizza
D. Sweet-Peeps Casserole
6. What is the official Peeps slogan?
A. Always in season
B. Really no reason
C. Bordering on treason
D. Just eat one already
7. On the official Peeps Web site, you can get:
A. a raging migraine
B. Peeps screensavers
C. a step-by-step view of how Peeps are made
D. answers to all these questions
Answers: 1-B; 2-D; 3-C; 4-A; 5-B; 6-A; 7-D.
Yellow Peeps in the shape of chicks are just one form of the popular confection.