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post #69
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Peep Cellar

The week after Easter is a fast-paced, frantic week for some. It is the last time (until the day after Halloween) to stock up on super sweet candy at super cheap prices. For lovers of Cadberry cream eggs, peanut butter eggs, hollow chocolate bunnies, bright plastic Easter grass, day glow baskets, and marshmallow Peeps, it will be the last chance to buy them all year.

I love the barbarism of Easter. During what other time of the time is it acceptable for children to gnaw away at representations of cute? Halloween candy is scary and should be eaten. Valentines Day is just hearts really, and those hearts are merely heart-shaped. Children aren't eating chocolate representations of the human four-chamber organ. But Easter! Easter has cuteness destroyed.

For example, the chocolate bunny. That cute chocolate bunny wrapped in foil with the picture of a cute bunny on it. You gotta eat the bunny. You gotta bite the bunny's ears off. You gotta eat the head. Then what do you have? A headless bunny. If I was a bunny, I'd start a coalition to protect all representations of me. Save the bunny! Down with Easter! It's not funny to eat the bunny!

For me, the most interesting Easter candy has to be the Marshmallow Peeps and bunnies. They're usually yellow with brown dots for eyes that stare back at you and say ‘Eat Me'. In addition to yellow, you can also find Peeps that are lavender, blue, pink, and white. Their smallest pack (the 1 ½ oz pack) is sold with a row of five peeps all attached to each other. Peeps are honest about being mass produced and delightful in their minimalism.

According to the box, a serving size of five peeps contains 160 calories, zero grams of fat and one gram of protein (hooray!). They also have 40 grams of carbs and 36 grams of sugar. Their main ingredient is sugar. I suppose that would make sense for something that isn't much more than a marshmallow sculpture covered with colored sugar.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Peep Cellar of JZ Phillipon out here in California. Phillipon (or JZ Crazy as he likes to be called) lives in a modest three-bedroom house deep in the Santa Monica Mountains. Although I can not reveal his exact location for privacy reasons, I will say that I love my car a whole lot more for not taking me over the side of the mountain during some of those turns.

Phillipon is a true gourmand and eccentric. The heir to a vast fortune, he was neither ambitious nor smart nor saintly nor diabolically insane. Instead, he decided early on to live simply and well with as many hobbies and as few complications as possible. He lives only to enjoy life and better himself. He is also quite proud of his prize winning arugula and the back deck he built himself out of toothpicks.

Phillipon's pride and joy is definitely his Peeps cellar. Where some might store wine, Phillipon stores Peeps. He will eat no Peep before it's time.

When I told him that I noticed this year's Peep expiration date was October 2006, Phillipon brought his hand to his mouth and giggled excitedly.

‘Oh yes, they're just little babies. They are.' He said sounding like a cross between Vincent Price and JFK.

Phillipon went on to tell me that he never eats a Peep until five years after the expiration date.

‘They must be allowed to grow stale slowly and gracefully' He said.

‘And how do they taste after five years?' I asked.

‘Yummy.' He said and then pointed out a wall of shelves containing only Lavender Peeps.

‘These are the 95 Lavenders, and those over there are the 98 Blues. The first years for those colors. I recently had some 95 Lavender. Magnifique!'

‘So what's your favorite Peep color?'

‘Oh yellow. I'm a traditionalist.'

‘And do you prefer Peeps or Bunnies?'

‘Oh Peeps of course. But I will say that some of the Bunnies have quite a lot of texture to them and pop on the palate---especially the 2000 Blue Bunnies.'

‘And what Peep in your collection are you most proud of?'

‘Over here. Let me show you.' Phillipon said as he took me over to a locked cabinet. After fiddling with his ring for a minute, he found the right key, opened the cabinet, and pulled out a yellow blob of something.

‘This is a 1957 Peep. Very rare. Very precious.'

‘What would it taste like?'

‘Hah! You don't eat it! You just keep it. Look, it's still yellow.'

‘Yeah, it's yellow all right.' I said.

After saying good bye to Phillipon and thanking him for the tour, I went on-line to do more research on the elusive Peep, and found the official Peep website where you can learn the whole history of Peeps. Yes, Peeps have a history.

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