The Ritual of the Peep
NPR Reporter Searches for Best Way to Eat Marshmallow Birdies
Listen to NPR's Andrea Seabrook's story on Peeps.
Video: The Peeps assembly line at the Just Born factory.
View a Peeps photo gallery.
Get the facts about Peeps.
Peeps, a legendary Easter treat.
Photo courtesy Just Born
March 31, 2002 -- At the Just Born factory in Bethlehem, Pa., 3.8 million candy Peeps are hatched a day. A never-ending flow of pastel battalions of birdies march down the assembly line. Their marshmallow bodies get a coat of colored sugar, a pneumatic gun affixes their wax eyes, and finally they're dropped into a cardboard cradle, tucked in with cellophane, and shipped out to the world.
After that, a Peep's fate is anyone's guess. Americans eat more than 600 million Peeps and Bunnies -- their Easter counterparts -- a year. Globally, a billion are consumed per year.
Peep Art: "KFPeeps"
Photo: David Ottogalli, Peeps Show
But that's not exactly accurate -- not all of them are eaten. Some become art, some become pets, and some are tortured as mad scientists try to discover what a Peep's breaking point is.
Whether as candy or toy, Peeps hold a revered place in American culture, to the point that they're now ritual. For Weekend All Things Considered, NPR's Andrea Seabrook investigates part of that ritual: the eating of the Peeps. She makes an unscientific survey of Peep-eaters in the nation's capital -- and then heads to the Peep factory itself -- in search of a definitive answer to the eternal question: What's the best way to eat a Peep?
Listen to Don Gonyea's interview with Peeps artist David Ottogalli.
More Peeps on the Web:
Read about what's done to Peeps in the name of science at www.peepresearch.org
Get recipes, souvenirs and Peep history at the official Marshmallow Peeps Web site.
Read about the first Peeps in space, Peep-O-Nauts.
Cool things to do with Peeps.
Get more Peep recipes.
Follow Peeps in their travels around the world at Tracy and Mia's Peep-o-Rama.
More Peep links on the Web.