Desperately Seeking Peeps Milk
Looking back, I’m not sure that I ever actually wanted to drink Peeps Milk.
Like the rest of the Internet, I was a little curious but mostly grossed out when I first heard about Prairie Farm’s marshmallow-flavored Easter concoction. Had it been available at my Super Fresh, I probably wouldn’t have bought it.
But Peeps Milk isn’t at my Super Fresh, and it isn’t at yours. Peeps Milk is only available in the Midwest — which is troubling, considering that Peeps proper are made right here in Pennsylvania, home of the Just Born headquarters.
Whether Peeps are our pride or our shame is up for debate, but they are, undoubtedly, ours. Where else could neon, sugar-crusted mounds of sugar have originated? Just as Philadelphian as the cheesesteak or the shamrock tramp-stamp, Peeps are this city’s spirit candy: rough on the outside, squishy around the middle, most palatable when you think less and blindly love more.
As a kid, Peeps were the first thing I ate in my Easter basket and the first thing I stole out of my sister’s. As a teenager, I devoted my short-lived CVS career to perfecting the Peeps Shrine, a rogue seasonal aisle display celebrating the glory and power of marshmallows, high-fructose corn syrup and break-room weed. As a grown woman, my heart lights up when I spot that first nuclear-yellow chick of spring.
No, this was never about having the Peeps Milk. It was about not having the Peeps Milk that I clearly deserved — that we all clearly deserved. The hunt was on.
Prairie Farms wasn’t about to ship me a fan-girl sample carton, so I began appealing to friends and family in the Midwest. Turns out I do a bad job keeping in touch once you move past, say Fairmount, so it was on to Craigslist. Although one St. Louis resident did reply to my post, she never followed through — which was probably for the best, all poisons considered.
(Somehow, begging a stranger to FedEx me marshmallow-flavored milk isn’t my most desperate Peeps move. That honor goes to the Monday morning I plopped a pack of bright pink bunnies on the Target pharmacy counter, looked the technician in the eye and asked for her finest Plan B. I regret nothing.)
The next and only step, short of flying to Chicago, was attempting to re-create Peeps Milk at home. After a couple days marinating in the fridge, it smelled pretty good — not unlike Fruity Pebbles. Unfortunately, it looked everything like Pokemon vomit and was freaking out my dog.
But then it dawned on me, a brief and brilliant moment of enlightenment: We don’t have Peeps Milk in Philadelphia because we have no use for Peeps Milk in Philadelphia. When was the last time your family got together and you thought, “Wow, I could really use a glass of milk right about now”? When was the last holiday you piled into the rowhouse you grew up in, locked yourself in the laundry room and snuck a Yoo-hoo?
That’s what I thought, Toto. We’re not in Kansas anymore.
Below, friends, you’ll find a recipe for Peeps-infused vodka. I’m not the first one to make it, and I hope I won’t be the last.
Alleluia, Philadelphia. May Peeps be with you.
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