Peeps keep America smiling

We love Peeps. How can we not?

Taylor from Canada loves Peeps, too/Ryn Gargulinski

Taylor from Canada loves Peeps, too. I would say he came all the way to Tucson just to get Peeps but I'd be lying/Ryn Gargulinski

Anyone who is not wholly enamored by the gushy little marshmallow candy is not a true American.

Peeps have everything this country craves: a highly synthetic makeup, bulk packaging and sugar, sugar, sugar.

Heck, Peeps may even be more American than baseball, apple pie or really bad reality TV.

Peeps are even evolving to fit our times. They are politically correct – now in six colors – and fit in with any diet or lifestyle – now with a few designs in sugar-free. The Christmas line is called the “holiday” variety and Peeps are also customized for Valentine’s and Halloween.

For the first time ever, a Peeps fest graced the streets of the company’s hometown Bethlehem, Penn., as part of the holiday celebration in December.

Sam Born is the driving force behind the mushy little critters who started the “Just Born” chocolate company in 1917. Even though he didn’t invent Peeps per se – but rather acquired the Peeps-making Rodda Candy Company in 1953 – the guy was a genius.

One of Sam’s brilliant inventions was a machine that automatically put sticks in lollipops, surely saving trillions of man hours and ensuring Kojak had a trademark.

Peeps mass production/Ryn Gargulinski

Peeps mass production/Ryn Gargulinski

Sam’s brother, Bob, was just as savvy. He came up with a way to mass produce Peeps in 1954.

Each marshmallow chick used to take 27 hours to make by hand while lovingly squirting marshmallow goo out of a pastry tube. Now machines crank out thousands of Peeps, with each candy taking six minutes each.

The only thing still done by hand is the addition of the eyeballs and any designs. People must be clamoring to work in the eyeball section of the Peep factory.

By the 1960s, Peeps got their sticky fingers into the Halloween and holiday markets, with pumpkins, black cats, snowmen and Christmas trees. In the 1980s they started cranking out more festive designs that even included a giant marshmallow bunny.

Peep bunnies in lavender/Ryn Gargulinski

Peep bunnies in lavender/Ryn Gargulinski

Once the 1990s hit, Peeps just went crazy adding more colors, more designs, more holidays, new packaging and even Peeps decorating kits where you can hook up a Peeps jack-o-lantern with a little tube of black something. If that’s not enough, Peep chicks now come nestled inside a chocolate egg and new flavors are on the market.

Some Peeps are formulated to taste like vanilla cream, cookies and cocoa.

We’re on Peeps overload – and we couldn’t be happier.

Original Peeps were yellow chicks/Ryn Gargulinski

Original yellow chicks/Ryn Gargulinski

Our first love of Peeps may have stemmed from being allowed to eat all that pure sugar before breakfast on Easter and other holiday mornings.  A box or two of Peeps makes Frankenberry healthier than flax and granola.

Even if we gave up eating Peeps because it’s become too painful to come down from a sugar rush, we can still adore the concept.

We can always keep them close to our hearts.

And we can always proclaim our true nature: “I must be American because I love Peeps.”


Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and Ryngmaster who loves Peeps nearly as much as she loves Sawyer. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. Her art, writing and more is at and E-mail

BONUS! Peeps peep show:



About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
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24 Responses to Peeps keep America smiling

    • Rynski says:

      hey ali – you are absolutely right! that IS amazing – thanks.
      i am now thoroughly convinced peeps make the world go round – hahhahah
      p.s. those peeps masterpieces make my peeps in a tree look like child’s play – well, i guess it IS child’s play – hahahahhah – peeps bring out the darling kid in all of us…

  1. ericheithaus says:

    Your slide show looks delicious!

    • Rynski says:

      thanks, eric!
      phoebe thought so, too – until she smelled them and decided she liked liver better than sugar – hahah. i left the peeps in the tree to see how long it takes them to rot, melt, disintegrate or be eaten by pack rats that like to climb.

      • ericheithaus says:

        keep me updated!

      • Rynski says:

        i sure will – haha.
        today, april 2, marks day three of peeps in the tree.
        upon close inspection, they are a bit hardened but still gushy-ish. one is fully missing his beak while others have very small bald patches where the blue sugar fell off.
        stay tuned!

      • azmouse says:

        They may become a permanent new piece of yard art.

      • Rynski says:

        you bet! or at least as permanent as they can be until they crumble or rot off the tree – hahah.

      • azmouse says:

        I’m thinking they’ll just get really hard, be kinda petrified. Crumble when you pinch them…unless they melt first!

      • Rynski says:

        i’m expecting something to come chomp them down – like sawyer – hahahah

  2. azmouse says:

    That little boy is adorable!

    Peeps are an icon! Never liked eating them, even as a kid, but no Easter basket would be complete without them because they make you smile and they’re fun to squash.
    My daughter was always the big Peep fan. She would finagle deals with her brothers to get their peeps. She even has a Peep purse!

    They do make a person smile!

    • Rynski says:

      i agree on taylor! it was funny he and his mom and dad were looking at me quizzically as i was snapping pix of the peeps display at fry’s. when i asked  him if he, too, loved peeps his face lit up like a giant sun – hahaha.
      so glad to hear your daughter is a big peeps fan – with a peeps purse, to boot! that HAS to be cool. they are fun to squash, aren’t they? perhaps even more amusing than squashing those little packets of mustard and ketchup – hahaha.

  3. tiponeill says:

    Truly Gross – even as a kid I couldn’t stand them. Marshmallow is only tolerable if caramelized by putting it on a stick and burning it over an open fire.
    Of course I think Chocolate should be the only candy legally available…

  4. radmax says:

    Peeps are insidious Rynski…just when you think you are safe the last holiday batch, a new ‘generation’ of ’em appears. I’ve never had the gumption to try a peep, as they do look ornamental and not fit for human consumption. Perhaps they are even poisonous due to the copious amounts artificial crapola in them. They give me the creeps…hey Rynski! There’s an idea! Horrible, scary, disfigured ‘creeps’ instead of these sugar laden death puffs…at least one would think twice before popping one in your mouth. 😉

    • Rynski says:

      oh, my goodness! you NEVER ate a peep??!!! that’s like never riding a bicycle or never owning goats – some things just make life complete – hahah,
      but that’s not as funny, by far, as the idea of CREEPS! i’ll hook up some marshmallow skulls, crossbones, ghouls and zombies for the next holiday on the agenda. my calendar tells me that’s WORLD RAT DAY on april 4.

  5. leftfield says:

    Nobody mentioned the primary function of Peeps – to put into a microwave.  That’s where the real fun of Peeps begins.

    • Rynski says:

      ha! funny you should mention that one, leftfield – while i was doing my peeps research, i did run across a site that subjected peeps to all kinds of cruel experiments, like the microwave.
      i was going to include it but the peeps poor melted, gushed-in face was just much too sad – it looked like those butter face people that barely have any features.

  6. Veganman says:

    I voted “Other”. Peeps always creeped me out as a kid. Then once I learned what gelatin was made of,  they REALLY creeped me out!!!
    At work we call them “Diabetes in a Box”.
    Truly the garbage parts of the animal industry whipped up and Red 40 sugar coated for the masses. Ewwwww! LOL!!!
    Even if they were Vegan, I’d pass. Same with the Cadbury Egg. My first experience with them was bad. I remember biting in and having a flood of hot…..corn syrup…..for lack of a better term…….bluh!
    I just dry heaved typing that……

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