Sunday, March 23, 2008
Ye Olde Peep Joust 2008
Peep jousting in my kitchen. Really...
Being that today is Easter, I figured I would participate in that age-old competition that surfaces around this holiday every year, the ancient sport of Peep Jousting.
You’re all familiar with Peeps, those nasty, somewhat tasteless yet sickly sweet marshmallow bundles shaped like baby chickens and rolled in sugar crystals that clog store shelves every Easter time. Now there’s a variety of Peeps. The chicks come in yellow, lavender, pink, blue, and green. There’s bunnies in yellow, pink, lavender, and blue. There’s Cocoa Bunnies, Peep tulips, orange crème eggs, and now they sell a Peep chick nestled inside a chocolate egg. (They also make Peeps in various shapes, colors, and flavors for Valentine’s, Halloween, and Christmas, too). The chicks have been around since about 1953.
Peep Jousting is generally done by the terminally bored or just the inebriated. I fall into the former and not the latter. Two Peeps are fitted with toothpicks and placed facing each other in a microwave. The microwave is then turned on High and the joust begins. The Peeps expand as they heat up. As they expand, the toothpick lances thrust toward each opponent, and the winner is the one that does not pop and deflate (or fizzle and die).
Generally, you’re left with a couple of globs of gooey mess that quickly become even more inedible than they were before. Personally, I never liked Peeps. I’m not really a marshmallow kind of guy. I also don’t particularly care for those Cadbury Crème Eggs either. Just thinking about a Crème Egg makes my teeth hurt. Instead, I like the Cadbury chocolate eggs and the caramel eggs. My Easter Treat of Choice really would be to have some extra dark chocolate and a small jar of peanut butter to dip it in, or maybe one of the big chocolate oranges that you whack on the table to split apart. Gawd, but I love me some dark chocolate.
Easter’s not the same anymore now that I’m an adult. You walk through WalMart and all you see are the pre-packaged Easter Baskets for $20.00 or so, already filled with some candy and super-cheap toys from China laced with lead-based paint. It’s a gift that takes approximately zero thought and pretty much no effort. When I was a kid, your family MADE you an Easter basket. You had to find a suitable basket, fill the bottom with that annoying Easter Grass which is almost as big a nuisance as Christmas tinsel, and then you got goodies like a hollow chocolate bunny, some solid chocolate eggs, maybe a Reese’s or some other brand-name treat, and mayhaps a trinket toy or two. It was simpler, but at the same time, there was effort and thought that went into it. Nowadays, you just go buy some crappy pre-made basket, ironically put together by some overworked sweatshop slave in a polluted Chinese city who has no idea just what Easter is or why the Christian world celebrates it.
Actually, I think half the Christian world has no idea what Easter is about. As a kid, it was all Easter Bunny this and Easter Bunny that, and decorating eggs with those crappy kits from Paas that required smelly vinegar and color pellets that left your fingers dyed for a week. It took awhile till I figured out the whole Jesus resurrection deal. Easter, like most Christian religious holidays, has been watered down to a commercialized caricature of itself.
As I write this, I can smell the roast in the oven cooking up nicely, and it has me thinking of Easter dinners. I find it amusing how often people serve ham at Easter, and also at Christmas. Nothing says “celebrating the birth/resurrection of a Jew” quite like a nice salty slab of pork. As a kid we often did lamb at Easter, which is a bit off the beaten path and at least something Jesus would have eaten. Lamb remains a typical dish in that part of the world, whereas ham…..not so much.
So…enjoy the time with your family and if you’re a churchgoer, have fun there, too. And if you have nothing better to do, I’m sure you have a couple spare toothpicks left over from Christmas to stick into those last couple Peeps that no one wants to eat. Peep jousting is a great way to kill a Sunday night.