Easter is a major Christian holiday, of course, but it’s also a big season for candy makers, second in sales only to Halloween (in the United States, at least). But there’s more to Easter candy than sugar and food dye. From Peeps and Jelly Belly to Tic Tac and Kit Kat, my new column for the Visual Thesaurus, “The Sweets of Easter,” takes a bunny hop through the candy store, exploring candy etymologies and brand-name origins. Full access is restricted to subscribers; here’s an excerpt:
Peeps aren’t only for eating. There are contests around the country for Peepza (Peeps on a pizza) and Peepsonality (Pinterest boards with Peeps-inspired recipes, crafts, or art; Just Born owns the Peepsonality trademark). In 2010 an inventive cook created a recipe for Peepshi (sushi-styled Peeps). There are also competitions for Peeps dioramas. I even found a Passover-themed Peeps exhibit: the ten plagues from the Book of Exodus rendered in Peeps bunnies. (For display only: Because of their corn syrup content, Peeps are not kosher for Passover consumption.)
“Peeps Mourn Their Peeps: Twinkie, Rest in Peeps,” the winner of the Washington Post’s 2013 Peeps diorama contest.
And here are some blog-only extras:
- In 2009, Just Born, the parent company of Peeps, expanded the product line by introducing Peeps Lip Balm in four flavors: grape, strawberry, vanilla, and cotton candy.
- The Snickers candy bar, introduced in 1930, was named after a horse belonging to the Mars family. I wrote about the Snickers “snacklish” ad campaign in a 2009 Visual Thesaurus column, “We Speak Brandish. Do You?”
- The Food Timeline Library has well-documented histories of many candies, including pralines (very different confections in France and the U.S.), halva, Turkish delight, and Pop Rocks.
- The definitive history of chocolate bunnies, from Foodimentary.
- My favorite Easter Bunny story, “Jesus Shaves,” told by David Sedaris: audio and slightly different text (scroll down to #2).