by Zach Smith
Do you have
peeps flavored Italian ice? I asked.
It was a strange
question of course. Peeps are marshmallow for the
most part, coated with granulated sugar. Its
not so much the taste, but the shape and texture
that draws people to eat them. Theyre
shaped kind of like rubber duckys, meant to
look like baby chicks, dyed yellow, sold in rows
of ten. Everyones favorite Easter candy
well, almost everyone.
Dad loves peeps,
and since I dont eat them weve formed
a symbiotic relationship around the Easter basket.
Of course he likes all the other candies too, and
were not all that religious either, so
anyways he tries not to eat too much candy
throughout the year, but he cant help (as
he says) doing a line of peeps every
Many years ago, I
did eat them, and enjoyed them, soft and chewy
but crunchy at the same time. Like a fine wine
they would get better with age, though they never
got very old in our house.
Then one Easter,
Mom thought it would be funny if she made noises
while I was
trying to eating them.
Oh no Zach
no, she said, as though they were sentient.
Please dont eat me, no.
And you just know
she was affecting a high pitched cartoonish voice
all the while.
After that, every
time I tried to eat them, that voice was stuck in
Mom still bought
them of course. Looking back, it might have been
a plot between her and Dad, so that I wouldnt
have to share my peeps with him (or him with me).
If that was the case, it worked, because I never
ate them again, the guilt is just too
overwhelming. I cant even eat the modern
tombstone and snowmen varieties.
Twenty years later,
in the spring I stopped by an Italian ice stand,
selling (of all things) peeps flavored Italian
ice. I couldnt eat the cute little peeps in
their standard form, but I wasnt above
eating them as an Italian ice flavor. Of course I
didnt see that the peeps flavor was
available until the Swedish Fish flavored Italian
ice was already in my hand.
Which brings us up
Just about a year
later, I stopped by the Italian ice stand again
and this time asked the hostess if she had peeps
She looked at me
like I was crazy, and didnt say anything.
take a Swedish Fish one then, I said.
scooped a cup full of the deep red Italian ice,
and put it on the counter. A small clump of ice
fell off. She cleaned it up with a spray bottle
and rag. Then she put my spoon on the same
counter. After paying she handed me my cup of
Italian ice and spoon.
I wiped the spoon
off first but it was not enough and the Italian
ice tasted like bleach. At home I got a new spoon,
but the ice had already been contaminated. She
may have just made an honest mistake. But that
look she gave me. I think she tried to poison me,
for asking about such a strange flavor. I dont