Friday, March 07, 2008

Not a Peep

I was recently washed away in a brightly colored flood of fun by Peeps!: Recipes and Crafts to make With Your Favorite Marshmallow Treat (Chronicle Books). Let’s face it: this is a ridiculous book. In a world of serious cookbooks filled with recipes for all sorts of important and self-important foods, who needs a book on what to do with those weird marshmallow treats you possibly haven’t thought about since childhood? Yet Peeps! Is a merry blast of happy colors tinted all the more bright by nostalgia.

If you do not know what Peeps are, I am not going to explain them, but these people can. Calling them “sugar dusted chicks and bunnies” really doesn’t quite cover it, yet that’s just what they are. And though Peeps! tells us the confection has been around since the 1950s, like the author, I strongly associated them with the mad sugar rush that was growing up in the 1970s. The author sums this up quite sharply:
Like most kids in the 1970s, I had a sweet tooth that could not be sated. The sweeter – and more brightly colored – the better, was my motto.
And, certainly, Peeps fit that bill on all counts.

So it’s one thing to wax poetic about an odd confection from your childhood. After all, no matter where or when you grew up, you certainly have one of those. But to write a whole cookbook about it? That’s another thing altogether. And yet, here we are.

And so we have Peeps Fondue (bring on the chocolate), Peeps Affogato (bring on the espresso) and even Peeps in a Blanket (bring on the crepes). A different section brings us crafts featuring Peeps, including a Peeps printed tote, a Peepiñata (I’m not even going to explain. I don’t need to) and a Sugar Cookie Peeps Coop.

As I said earlier, this is a ridiculous book. It works, though. And it only works because author Charity Ferreria has the food and creative chops to pull it off. Her projects -- both food and craft -- are often sweet but never to the point of cloying and even if you don’t, for instance, care one whit about a Garland of Peeps or a Peeps Wedding Cake Topper, you can’t help but admire the panache with which she puts together these Peepsish dreams.

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