Did you know that there are people who are allergic to eggs? That means they are also allergic to most cakes, sweets, ice creams and, gasp, doughnuts! Yes, doughnuts. A little piece of my heart just died writing this. My goddaughter Meg is afflicted with such an allergy. Here, in a very special edition of The More You Know, my awesome sister finds the good in a sad situation and tackles allergies and Easter candy in a spirit of A la Mode.
I love food. I love just about all of it. And I can appreciate the rest. I know a lot of people who don’t eat whole categories of foods. I was once in a supper club with a couple who didn’t eat anything leafy. And I can’t imagine passing on a food that could possibly become my next favorite thing. So imagine how difficult it can be when you get handed a couple of kids with food allergies, not minor allergies either. My oldest daughter, Kate, came out allergic to peanuts. I thought that was bad. Silly me. Apparently God didn’t think he’d made his point well enough. So, then came Meg.
And this brings us to this week’s theme, the egg. That’s one of the foods that my daughter Meg is extremely allergic to. Many people can eat only egg yolks or only egg whites. Some can’t eat eggs but can manage to eat foods that have eggs cooked into them. Not Meg. If she so much as sits next to an egg carton, she breaks out in hives. Allergies come in all shapes and sizes and some are worse than others. But for Meg, eggs and nuts are both major allergies. She can’t even have the foods that say ‘Warning: made in a facility where bad nasty things are present.’ (sigh) You don’t find out how many things eggs are in until you try to avoid them.
Holidays and special occasions can be a problem. Easter is not an easy holiday. It’s hard to outfit an Easter basket without encountering eggs or nuts. There seems to be no chocolate Easter bunnies in this hemisphere that don’t have warnings all over them. Thank God for Hershey’s. As soon as I see the first Hershey’s chocolate Easter bunnies hit the shelves, I run to get mine before they’re gone. Hershey’s makes their chocolate bunnies in a nut free facility.
Thank goodness for my very favorite Easter treat, the noble Peep. Peeps are wonderful. Who doesn’t love marshmallows? Yeah! And they come in different shapes and colors and they are totally reliable – no eggs, no nuts. (I’m going to pretend those new chocolate covered ones didn’t happen.) The most wonderful thing about peeps is the variety of ways you can enjoy them without really doing much of anything:
Fresh out of the box. Peeps aren’t just marshmallows. In comparison, marshmallows seem so dull and tasteless. There’s something about the softness of a peep with the crunch of the sugar crystals that makes it sooooooo comforting. And we all know that the chicks don’t taste the same as the bunnies and that color truly counts. My husband is a traditionalist for the yellow chick. Meg is all about the purple bunnies. Kate wants blue ones, of any kind.
Stale. How many foods take on a whole new taste-filled experience when you just let them sit out and get stale? Let’s face it, you’re supposed to chuck foods that go stale. Who wants a stale pretzel? Not me! But we purposely leave that box of Peeps out so that some of them can get all hard. Which brings us to my favorite “preparation”
Microwaved. Oh, my. I get all quivery just thinking about it. Now the perfect way to microwave your Peep is to first let it get a little stale so the outer ‘crust’ can handle the microwaved melty interior. Place a single Peep in the microwave, turn it on, and watch. The moment the Peep blooms, – and yes, that’s the official culinary term for when a Peep starts to explode – you snatch it. Hurry! It’s an absolutely perfect combination of soft gooey marshmallow and sugary crust. Ahhhhhhhh, bliss.
And last, but certainly not least…Frozen. This is also a pretty wonderful way to keep your Peeps. My oldest daughter is a big fan of frozen. Every year she takes a box, eats one Peep and throws the rest straight into the freezer. The beauty of this is that you can still microwave these too, if the mood should strike.
And once my sister knocks out that marshmallow recipe she found, she can make us homemade Peeps!
How do you like your Peeps?