We have a tradition here at MAKE of celebrating the arrival of Spring (and Easter Sunday) with a survey of the latest and greatest in Peeps use (and abuse). People seem more interested in doing silly and bizarre things with Marshmallow Peeps than eating them. Part of what I wrote for last year’s roundup perhaps hints at some of why people can’t stop playing with their “food” when it comes to this weird seasonal candy:
There’s something about this strange, over-the-top-sweet, pillowy confection that makes it simultaneous attractive and repulsive. It’s WAY too much of a good thing: too much sweet, too much cute, two much color (this year’s colors are vivid to a degree that’s downright hallucinatory). And then there’s the unique “mouth feel” of gooey, pillow-soft innards and a crunchy crystalline sugar coating (and let’s not forget the two tiny “choco-eyes”). Not to mention the rather disturbing idea of eating a rack of baby chicks, fused to each other at the hip, sold to you at Easter by a company called Just Born of Bethlehem, PA. It all adds up to a uniquely American pop-surrealist experience that I (and thousands of others) revel in each year.
Here is this year’s kooky cavalcade o’ Peeps high weirdness:
Back in the Web Jurassic of the late 20th century, Peep Research emerged as the go-to site for the burgeoning field of Peeps science and silliness. Here you could see Peeps being subjected to heat, cold, solubility, pressure (er… and Camel cigarettes). It’s nice that the site is still up (in all of its Web 1.0 glory), but it’s a shame it never gets updated.
Another Peeps research site is Bunny Survival Test. Here they perform experiments in laser light exposure, oxygen deprivation, and the “Coyote Test” (as in Wyle E.), where a Peeps is strapped to the top of brick and dropped.
Explody Peeps high-speed photography set-up
I love how this mom blogger does science experiments with her two daughters using Peeps, eggs, and other Easter favorites. See the Dissolving Peeps (and other experiments)
There are a number of Peeps in a vacuum chamber videos on YouTube, usually using either a lab vacuum chamber or a kitchen vacuum sealer. This family did the same experiment using a bicycle pump-powered chamber. You can see the Instructable for building your own on this link.
Vacuum Chamber + 9,000 Volts + Peeps = Awesome!
The ur-Peeps experiment is Peeps in a microwave. Do a search on YouTube and you’ll find dozens of examples. Here, Jeri Ellsworth’s friend Kevin Rouviere built a “Faraday cage” out of metal strainers. As long as the openings in the strainer are smaller than the wavelength of the radio frequency, the Peeps are safe. The control Peep outside the cage? Not so much.
Experimental Burning Peepshow – Flammability Test #1. Jeri Ellsworth experiments with cutting a Peep with a 60w laser.
Peeps Sushi, anyone?
You knew it was bound to happen.
Peeps Fun and Games
Every year, I’ve included an item about my favorite Peeps-related activity: Peep War! It’s a free downloadable tabletop wargame where you get to eat the enemies you attack/capture, a section at a time! Jelly beans counters are involved too. Yum. If you don’t have Peeps and jelly beans to play with, you can use paper/cardboard counters. You are not advised to eat them. Here’s the Peep War page on BoardGame Geek.
Peep Jousting is another fun Easter day activity. Two Peeps face off in a microwave. Each is equipped with a toothpick sword (angled up so that as the Peeps are distorted in the oven, one of the toothpicks will come down and touch its opponent). First Peep to make contact wins.
Every year it seems that more and more city newspapers, public arts organizations, churches, and schools hold Peeps art and diorama contests. Search on the Net and you’ll scoop up dozens of galleries of them. One can only wonder how many Peeps are sold as art material now rather than candy. The official Peeps website even tracks upcoming competitions.
“Chilean Mine Peeps Rescue,” by Rande Johnson and Carol Epps. First Place Winner in The Denver Post 2011 Peeps Contest. (Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon)
Loren Sciurba’s scene from The Walking Dead, an entry in the Washington Post’s 2012 Peeps Contest.
Close up of scene from The Walking Dead
Godzilla vs. Peeps by Bruce Applen
More Peeps madness via the Big List of Peeps Links.
If you’ve done any fun, educational, or frivolous things with Peeps (or have links to favorite Peeps art and experimentation), please share in the links below.