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The Eating of Peeps

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The Eating of Peeps

The Eating of Peeps

The Eating of Peeps

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1140917/140917" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Among the offerings from the Peeps people: the original yellow marshmallow chick in a chocolate egg. Just Born hide caption

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Just Born

Classic Peeps packaging. Just Born hide caption

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Just Born

David Ottogalli turns Peeps into pop art. David Ottogalli/Peeps Show hide caption

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David Ottogalli/Peeps Show

At the Just Born factory in Bethlehem, Pa., 3.8 million candy Peeps are hatched per 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 – per year. Globally, a billion are consumed per year.

But that's not exactly accurate; not all of them are eaten. Some become art, some become pets, and some are tortured by mad scientists trying 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 a ritual. Part of that ritual: the eating of the Peeps.

And so, one intrepid reporter takes an unscientific survey of Peep-eaters in the nation's capital — and then visits the Peep factory itself — in search of a definitive answer to the eternal question: What's the best way to eat a Peep?

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