Hello and thank you for coming over to another edition of Funny Names in Food. For those who’ve been round before, it’s great to see you again. And for any newbies, I’ll introduce myself as Liz, weekly poster at food for fun and monthly guest here at Blog of Funny Names. I love that you’re here and would invite you to sit back as we talk funny names and CANDY. First, let’s offer you something to drink *liz offers a tray of your favorite beverage* and then we’ll start talking sweets. Ready?
If you celebrated Easter a few weeks back, I trust your Easter basket may be nearly empty by now. Perhaps you’re feeling the need for a bit of sweet, so let’s talk Peeps®.
Folks seem to fall into two Peeps camps: lovers and haters. Those of you who have read my blog know where I fall. My fascination with all things marshmallow means I’m all over the Peeps. Brightly colored marshmallows–we’re talking shades not found in nature–coated in crunchy sugar. What’s not to love?
While Peeps appear year-round in candy sections as edible Christmas trees, Halloween ghosts, and Valentine’s hearts, it’s the Easter ones that rule my heart and company sales. Besides giving a quick hit of sugar and nice bit of texture (whether soft and fresh or “aged” and a bit chewy), they’re delish on s’mores and even better: great fun to watch expand in the microwave.
So the Peeps, then. Who are the brilliant peeps who invented Peeps? Just Born Candy Company has manufactured Peeps for over 60 years. And Just Born was birthed by Russian immigrant Sam Born. Born made a name for himself in 1916, when he developed the first machine to mechanically insert sticks into lollipops. (How cool is that?) He was heralded as a confectionery genius, so it’s no surprise that he built a beauty of a candy company.
In 1953, Just Born acquired Rodda, another candy company that owned a small line of “3-D marshmallow products.” (The funny-name gods were smiling on me when I learned the Peep’s first inventor had the fantastic Dukes of Hazzard-style name, Roscoe E Rodda.) Back in the day it took 27 hours (!) to create one Peep as each bird was squeezed out of a tube, then painstakingly decorated by hand.
Enter Bob Born, Sam’s son. Born junior invented a way to “mechanize the marshmallow-shaping process.” (These quote marks mean I have no idea what I’m talking about.) Today’s Peep factories spit out one of those ‘mallow bombs in just six minutes. Two million Peeps in a day with about 700 million being produced in a given Easter season. Wow.
Photos of Born, Born, and Roscoe didn’t excite me as much as those of candy, so we’ll close with the crazy ingenuity Peeps inspire. These dioramas were put together by what we can only assume are Peeps lovers. Enjoy! And feel free to dig into your Easter stash while you do so. Peep anyone?