Have you ever wondered where the Peeps came from? How about who came up with the idea of taking sugar and turning it into a bean or why chocolate bunnies over chocolate frogs? The other day while talking with some friends about the little Peeps marshmallow candies, I asked myself these questions. It was then that I decided that there needed to be a blog about these sugary delights and other Easter candy staples.
In 1953, Russian immigrant Sam Born invented the yellow chick peep that later became available in several other colors and offered for other holidays besides Easter, like smiling pumpkins for Halloween. Another nifty fact about these sweet chicks is that after Easter Sunday, peeps prices drop drastically and the “Peep Off” competition, originally starting in Maine, begins. As you can probably guess, it is a contest of how many peeps you can eat in thirty minutes. The record holder of 102 peeps is Dave Smith who also started Sacramento’s “Peep Off” contest.
No matter how sweet these marshmallow treats are, jelly beans are always around to add to the diet of a sugar eater, but there is also some really interesting history connected to jelly beans. For instance, these beans of sugar originally came from Turkish Delights, a Middle Eastern candy of soft jelly and confectioner’s powder. First appearing in 1861 during the American Civil War when William Schrafft asked people to send the bean version of Turkish Delights to the soldiers. In the 1910’s and 1920’s jelly bean was actually slang for a young man who attracted women only by dressing stylishly. It was not until the 1930’s that the jelly bean became associated with Easter.
The last iconic candy of Easter is the famous chocolate bunny. Hollow, solid, crispy rice or milk chocolate, these guys are a must during Easter. The question is: why? The original celebration of Spring coincided with the celebration of the ancient goddess of fertility Eostre (Easter), hence why nowadays we associate Easter with the beginning of Spring. The chocolate bunnies come in with the idea of fertility and what animal is most associated with being fertile? Bunnies! That is really the only reason why we have the chocolate bunnies for Easter.
So this Easter, eat up your peeps, jelly beans and chocolate bunnies, but do remember these facts. Feel free to Facebook Uptown Campus Dining or follow us on Twitter @UptownCamDining to tell us about your Easter. We would love to hear about your attempts to eat more than 102 peeps.