12 Weird Peeps Flavors to Try All Year Long

The start of spring signals the beginning of Peeps season. Celebrate the warmer weather with some of the festive candy brand’s wackier flavors.

1. Peeps Delights

Blueberry Delight Peeps
Peeps & Company

These special Peeps come in a variety of flavors including vanilla, orange sherbet, strawberry, coconut, and sugar cookie. They’re partially dipped in dark, milk, or white chocolate. Some also include fillings, like chocolate caramel swirl. You can pick up a pack on Amazon, buy them from the Peeps online store, or pick them up from Target.

2. Fruit Punch Peeps

Fruit Punch Peeps
Peeps & Company

If you’re ready for summer already, you can get a 10-pack of bright red, fruit punch-flavored Peeps. The flavor can be found on the Peeps store or on Amazon.

3. Pumpkin Spice Peeps

Pumpkin spice latte Peeps
Peeps & Company

Are you craving the flavor of a pumpkin spice latte off-season? These PSL Peeps first debuted in 2015, but sadly, they're now nearly impossible to find, even on Amazon. We're praying they'll come back someday, though.

4. Cotton Candy Peeps

Cotton Candy Peeps
Peeps & Company

Another relatively new flavor on the Peeps scene is the ambitious cotton candy. Perfect for carnival lovers with a sweet tooth, these light pink Peeps come with little flecks of blue sugar. You can pick up a pack from the Peeps store, on Amazon, or at Target.

5. Sour Watermelon Peeps

Sour Watermelon Peeps
Peeps & Company

Here is another tart flavor of Peep that is a little more controversial. Most people will either love or hate these boldly flavored birds. They have green sugar outsides and pink marshmallow insides to imitate a real watermelon. You can find them at Walmart, Target, Amazon, or the Peeps store.

6. Bubble Gum Peeps

Bubble Gum Peeps
Peeps & Company

If you hate that you can’t (or at least, shouldn’t) swallow bubble gum, then maybe these Peeps are for you. Get the light pink marshmallows at Walmart.

7. Party Cake Peeps

Party Cake Peeps
Peeps & Company

Got a party coming up? Pick up a 10-pack of these festive Peeps. They even come with colorful sprinkles for added fun. Get them at Target, the Peeps store, or on Amazon.

8. Red Velvet Peeps

Red Velvet Peeps
Peeps & Company

Red velvet isn’t just for cupcakes and waffles. The decadent flavor was part of a Christmas-themed series, which also included hot cocoa, candy cane, and sugar cookie. Since it’s past the season, you can’t get them in stores, but keep an eye out on Amazon in case the delicious flavor ever returns.

9. Pancakes and Syrup Peeps

Pancakes & Syrup Peeps
Peeps & Company

These Pancakes & Syrup Peeps are a perfect excuse to eat sweets for breakfast. You can snag some from the Peeps store or on Amazon.

10. Caramel Apple Peeps

Caramel Apple Peeps
Peeps & Company

If you’re not crazy about spring or winter flavors, Peeps has also created some autumn options. The caramel apple—apple flavored Peeps that are dipped in caramel fudge—came out in 2015, at the same time as the candy corn and pumpkin spice flavors. And like them, the limited-time flavor it was gone too soon. But if you really get a hankering for caramel apple Peeps, you can still snag a box on eBay … if you're willing to pay $334.

11. Sweet Lemonade Peeps

Sweet Lemonade Peeps
Peeps & Company

Another limited-time flavor we're hoping will return, Peeps released these summery lemonade-flavored marshmallows in 2013. Part of the proceeds for each package sold went to Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer.

12. Mystery Peeps

Mystery Peeps
Peeps & Company

Feeling indecisive? Let the Peep pick the flavor for you. Each Easter season, Peeps releases a selection of plain white chicks, challenging customers to guess the flavor. While we have yet to hear about the 2019 release, last year, there were three different boxes to choose from, all sold at Walmart. Fans were encouraged to try all three and then send guesses to @PeepsBrand on social media with the hashtag #mysterypeeps. Stay tuned over the next few weeks for the 2019 flavors, and if you missed out on previous mystery-flavor releases, you can still get some of those Peeps on Bonanza and eBay.

A version of this story first ran in 2016. It has been updated to reflect current availability.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

The Fascinating History Behind Why Jewish Families Eat Chinese Food on Christmas

iStock
iStock

For Jewish New Yorkers, scoring a seat at one of veteran restaurateur Ed Schoenfeld’s Chinese eateries on Christmas Day could be compared to a holiday miracle. “I think on that day we do more business than many restaurants do in three months,” Schoenfeld tells Mental Floss. “We serve all day long, we stay open all day long.”

Schoenfeld is the Jewish owner-operator of RedFarm, an Asian-fusion dim sum restaurant with two locations in New York (plus one in London), and Decoy, a West Village shrine to traditional Peking duck. While his expertise lies in Far Eastern cuisine, Schoenfeld grew up in Brooklyn and learned to cook from his Eastern European grandmother. And just like his customers, Schoenfeld and his family sometimes craved Chinese food on Christmas, eschewing homemade fare for heaping plates of chow mein and egg foo yung. The future restaurateur's grandmother kept a kosher kitchen, but outside the home all dietary laws flew out the window with the single spin of a Lazy Susan. Suddenly, egg rolls with pork were fair game, transfigured into permissible delicacies through hunger and willful ignorance.

As Gentiles feast on turkey and roast beef during the Yuletide season, why do many Jews opt for chop suey? For starters, it's convenient: Chinese restaurants are open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. But as historians and culinary experts tell Mental Floss, other ingredients play a part in this delicious story.

Jews developed their love for all things steamed, stir-fried, and soy-sauced after leaving the Old Country. Between the mid-1800s and the 1930s, waves of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, Germany, and Greece began settling in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a gritty, inexpensive neighborhood teeming with tenements, docks, and factories—and filled with synagogues and kosher butcher shops. “You started here, and then moved on," Sarah Lohman, author of Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine, says.

While Jewish immigrants found community on the Lower East Side, "there was a lot of discrimination against Jews at the turn of the century,” Lohman adds. "They were often criticized not only for not dressing like Americans and not speaking the language, but also for not converting to an 'American' religion."

Right next door to the burgeoning Jewish community on the Lower East Side was the city's nascent Chinatown. Many Chinese immigrants had initially come to the U.S. to work on the Transcontinental Railroad. After its completion in 1869, these laborers faced violence and discrimination in the western states. They came to New York City seeking new business opportunities, and some opened restaurants.

By and large, Chinese restaurateurs didn’t discriminate against Jewish customers. Joshua Eli Plaut writes in his book A Kosher Christmas: 'Tis the Season to be Jewish that the Chinese, as non-Christians, didn't perceive any difference between Anglo-Saxon New Yorkers and Jewish immigrants; they accepted all non-Chinese customers with open arms.

Jewish customers embraced Chinese food in return. The restaurants were conveniently located and inexpensive, yet were also urbane in their eyes. Jews saw dining out as an American custom that they wanted to try, largely because they sought upward mobility among other Americans. According to Yong Chen, a history professor and author of Chop Suey, USA: The Story of Chinese Food in America, "[Diners] were attracted to Chinese food because, in their mind, it represented American cosmopolitanism and middle class status." And they weren't deterred by the fact that food in Chinese restaurants wasn't kosher. But they could easily pretend it was.

Dairy wasn’t a big part of Chinese meals, so Jewish diners didn’t have to worry about mixing meat and milk (a no-no in kosher diets). And non-kosher ingredients like pork or seafood were often finely chopped, drowned in sauces, or mixed with other ingredients, like rice. These elements were well disguised enough that they could pass for more permissible forms of meat. “You could kind of willfully ignore that there might be pork in there," Lohman says. "It’s like a vegetarian eating a soup that has chicken stock. If you’re a little flexible about your Judaism, you would just ‘not notice’ the pork in your fried rice.”

Chinese food was exotic and new, filled with surprising flavors, ingredients, and textures [PDF]. But for some Eastern European Jews, it also had familiar elements. Both Eastern European and Chinese cuisines shared an affinity for sweet and sour flavors and egg-based dishes. "[Chinese restaurants] had these pancakes, which were like blintzes,” says Joan Nathan, author of King Solomon's Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World, and the wontons resembled kreplach (both are meat-filled soup dumplings).

The fact that the Chinese and Jews were America’s two largest non-Christian immigrant populations brought them together, Jennifer 8. Lee, author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food, tells Mental Floss. Unlike, say, Italian restaurants, Chinese restaurants were open on Sundays and on Christian holidays. They also lacked religious imagery, which may have made them appear more welcoming for Jews.

Combined, these factors caused the number of Chinese restaurants in urban East Coast cities to skyrocket during the early 20th century. Jews soon accounted for 60 percent of the white clientele in New York City's and Philadelphia’s Chinese restaurants, Chen writes, and Chinese restaurants would often go out of their way to cater to these clients. The eateries delivered their food to Jewish neighborhoods and to individual customers.

Yet an unwavering affection for Chinese food wasn't shared by all Jews. In an example cited by Chen and Lee, a reporter for Der Tog (The Day), a Yiddish daily newspaper in New York City, noted in 1928 that Jewish diners were in danger of drowning their culinary roots in soy sauce. To take back their taste buds, Jewish-Americans should hoist protest signs reading “Down with chop suey! Long live gefilte fish!” the journalist joked.

But Jewish cookbooks had already begun including Americanized dishes like chop suey and egg foo yung, which Chinese chefs had specially created to appeal to homegrown appetites. And as Lower East Side Jews moved to different neighborhoods, boroughs, and suburbs, Chinese restaurants followed them.

By the mid-20th century, Nathan says, Chinese restaurants had become de facto social clubs in Jewish communities. Familiar faces were always present, children were always welcome, and eating with your hands wasn’t just encouraged—it was required. Everyone left filled with food and gossip, whether it was Christmas or an ordinary Sunday evening.

Thanks to immigration patterns, nostalgia, and convenient hours of operation, this culinary custom has stuck around. “Jewish guests want to go out and eat Chinese food on Christmas,” Schoenfeld, the Manhattan restaurateur, says. “It’s become a tradition, and it’s extraordinary how it’s really grown.”

This story originally ran in 2017.

Harry & David Just Released a Cats-Inspired Gourmet Gift Collection

Harry & David
Harry & David

Year after year, Harry & David proves itself to be the undefeated champion of helping people gain the favor of tough-to-please recipients on their holiday gift lists. From baskets of cheese to buckets of popcorn, there’s a gourmet food—or collection of foods—for pretty much everyone.

This Christmas, the company has partnered with Universal Pictures to release a line of deluxe gifts that all evoke the enchanting, sophisticated style of the upcoming film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's classic musical Cats.

The products don’t come with cat ears, furry bodysuits, or pint-sized action figures of Taylor Swift, Jason Derulo, and the rest of the star-studded cast. Instead, in true Harry & David fashion, the gifts are decorated with tasteful Cats ribbons and subtle touches of black and gold.

The simplest option for anyone with a sweet tooth is the $30 Classic Sweets Box, which includes dark chocolate-covered pretzels, raspberry galettes, dark chocolate truffles, and Harry & David’s signature Moose Munch popcorn. For healthy eaters or fans of fruit in general, there’s a box of Royal Riviera pears, hand-wrapped in gold foil, which you can purchase with (for $70) or without (for $50) a bottle of Pinot Gris. There are also a few larger dessert baskets with a broad assortment of truffles, caramels, popcorn, chocolate-covered cherries, and more mouthwatering confectioneries.

Though you’d be ill-advised to share most of those desserts with your actual cat, they might be able to enjoy the savory meats from the other boxes and baskets—after all, cats can have a little salami. Items include sausage, salami, smoked salmon, pepper jack cheese, sharp white cheddar cheese, garlic-stuffed olives, water crackers, and roasted almonds, among other things.

In summary, the Cats collection is ideal for these demographics: people who like Cats the musical, people who like Cats the movie, people who like gift baskets, people who like gifts, and people who eat food.

You can shop all the options here, and find out everything you need to know about Cats the movie here.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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