Miscellaneous Rumbles

WTB: Root Beer Float Peeps


A curse upon humanity. I can't stand 'em.

If the world is ever completely destroyed, the only thing left will be cockroaches, and Peeps.

– Tartan Phantom

And Twinkies. Boy, the post-apocalyptic menu options have made me decide to always keep a little paint onhand. Just enough to paint a bullseye on my forehead when the missiles are on the way.


Went to Publix about an hour ago. The 10 Pack o' Peeps did not make it to the house. There is nothing like the crunch/smoosh sugar blast to the brain of newly born Peeps. Not at any other time of year...no 4th of July Peeps, nor Thanksgiving Peeps, and most certainly no Christmas Peeps, that is Peep blasphemy.

And for me they gotta be yellow. However, when used in artwork, any color goes. As in the Sgt. Peeper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.


And for me they gotta be yellow. - Deed

These are exceptions to the yellow rule for a one time, "let's see what these are about", thrill. I promise to film it.

I did it when me and my work crew taste tested cappuccino flavored Lays potato chips! EDIT: They were the worst tasting potato chips ever.


Being as how Peeps are not vegetarian (gelatin in most marshmallows), I haven't had 'em in over 45 years. But I still remember them from Easter baskets when I was kid. Didn't really understand the appeal even then. When there are jelly beans and chocolate eggs, why bother with marshmallow anything?


3 pages about peeps? Is this the Glucose Diabetic-ketoacidosis Pages, now?


And a total freaking mess to clean up... Speaking from microwaving experience here.

You don't clean up. After the Peeps blow, you take the microwave to the garage and open the garage door. Throw some wire and aluminum foil in the microwave, give the grandkids goggles and tell'em to stand back. (Also, remind them NEVER to do this at home, that'll work...)

Then you really cook that sucker.

Kick it open still smoking, let the acrid scent of electrons on rampage waft through the room, unplug the ex-oven from the wall, grab it by the door and sling it into a garbage can, brush your hands and tell'em that's how science is done.

That's an Easter they'll never forget.

When there are jelly beans and chocolate eggs, why bother with marshmallow anything?

Right? Big hollow chocolate bunnies with crunchy hard-sugar eyes. That's where it's at. Eat off the bunnie's ears. Chew off a foot. Bite off the tail. Munch on chocolate bunny butt. Make it last for days, administering oblivion by a thousand bites. Save the eyes for last; make it watch the whole thing.

THAT's Easter right there.

Root beer is one of the few carbonated sugarwaters I'll drink, and then only a few a year. Original frosted-mug A&W from the tap is the gold standard for anyone growing up in the 50s and 60s. It's never the same bottled, so maybe it's only a memory now. I go for local and regional variants, when they can be found. The variety of recipes is pretty special.

Dr Pepper is good stuff too.

Who remembers the movie Coca Cola Kid, with Eric Roberts as an international salesman for Coke, tasked with an imperial American commercial mission to Australia to put the local bottler out of business in favor of Coke? Loved that movie. The local bottler reminded me of the regional brands we used to have. Southern Ohio was the home of Gem, who had numerous fruity varieties along with cream soda and root beer. You'd find orange rinds in the orange and fruit remains in the cherry, strawberry, blueberry, grape...you get the idea.

Oh man. That was before pop turned into an industrial poison.

I never developed a Peep habit either.


3 pages about peeps? Is this the Glucose Diabetic-ketoacidosis Pages, now?

– NJBob

It's all about Nostalgia. They don't make it like they used to, you know.


Went to Publix about an hour ago. The 10 Pack o' Peeps did not make it to the house. There is nothing like the crunch/smoosh sugar blast to the brain of newly born Peeps. Not at any other time of year...no 4th of July Peeps, nor Thanksgiving Peeps, and most certainly no Christmas Peeps, that is Peep blasphemy.

And for me they gotta be yellow. However, when used in artwork, any color goes. As in the Sgt. Peeper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

– Deed Eddy

Talk about yer blasphemy, All the BeaTles are rollin over! Happy Easter to you and Duane, Deed. XX OA


Oh, and while we're rolling down libation memory lane, weren't the throat jarringly cold potions from the Orange Julius bars just the very best. I was partial to the Orange Pineapple juice. It was across from the Rialto Theater and was a regular before movie thing. We never chased them with peeps, of any flavor or color.


Peeps have nothing to do with the real meaning of Easter.


All the BeaTles are rollin over!

They're just wondering where the jelly babies are.


No, Wabashslim, of course not.

However, for many of us who searched for that wonderful hidden basket of treats prior to getting into the starchy shirts, bow ties, fancy dresses, hats, and gloves (ok, just me and Olivia) and went off to Easter Sunday church service, Peeps will always be a sweet reminder of very Happy Easters past.


Peeps have nothing to do with the real meaning of Easter.

– wabash slim

Do you mean the original Pagan Spring Equinox festival dedicated to the Goddess Eostre co-opted by Christianity in the 8th century A.D. ? Eostre or Eastre would've been all about marshmallow chicks. Good rejuvination/spring symbols..well the chick part.

Has anyone made a marshmallow cockroach?


All the BeaTles are rollin over!

They're just wondering where the jelly babies are.

– Proteus

I don't know about that.

After all those years of being pelted with the things on stage, Paul and Ringo may still be undergoing treatment for jelly baby-related PTSD.


fancy dresses, hats, and gloves (ok, just me and Olivia)

Hey! Maybe some of us too. You don't never know.


Would I keep such evidence?


One thing a lot of people who are not from the USA notice when visiting the USA is how sweet the food is. You guys love your sugar/fructose/glucose/corn syrup whatever!

A few years ago I stopped drinking softdrinks - coke, fanta, anything with sugar in it. I lost 5 kg over two weeks. And I was never a huge fizzy drink fan either. Then a month or so back I was working in a place where they only thing they had to drink was lemon soda squash. I was hot and desperate for a drink and it was cold so I downed a can. All I could taste was sugar with a hint of fruit acid. Why do they put so much sugar in it?

I usually have a San Pellegrino sparkling water these days and it is soooo much more refreshing. Which brings me to root beer. Why?



In the good ol' days Root Beer had full, real Sassafras Root....refreshing but poison.

Just like Gumbo File...full, real Sassafras leaves, yummy but poison.

Today, the carcinogen is removed and the extract used like a syrup.

Root Beer can be mildly alcoholic, too, like a Cider.

We would dig up Sassafras Root out in the Woods, and like all good Cub Scouts make Root Beer with lots of Cane Sugar and other ingredients.

A&W made Root Beer at all their Restaurants.

Sarsaparilla Root is similar, I buy that to make Iced Tea in the Summertime...very healthy.



Which brings me to root beer. Why?

Well, it's good. It tastes of the land. And, really, canned or widely available root beer misses the point. You gotta have a regional variant, bought close to the source. Some of it isn't even terribly fizzy.

And yes, sugar in the American diet is a horror. Forget the health consequences, it just ruins so many flavors. I try to stay away from it as I can.

We don't love it. Or we didn't, years ago. It's taken an unholy alliance of agribusiness, government, and consumer marketing to turn a reasonably nutritious staple of new world cultures into high-fructose corn paste extrude-a-food. It's not food in any conventional sense of the word. It's a flavorable, texturable substrate that would disgust us in the form it takes inside those shiny tankers in which it oozes down the interstates of the prairies to the massive industrial temples with their towering silos, before it's "processed" - molded and injected into the appearance of food.

I suppose it's a start on the food replicators in Star Trek - except presumably by the 23rd century, we'll have found a way to give our faux food actual nutritional content.

As it is, HFCS finds its way into products that have in the past had nothing to do with sweetness - which never used sugar before. It's like some amorphous entity of governance has mandated that we SHALL consume some secretly specified (and monstrous) quota of HFCS. TruthTellerSpook would tie it to some nefarious conspiracy either of population control or foreign intervention: some unholy cabal of extra-governmental actors who has decreed that America's population be systematically fattened, weakened, sedated, stupefied, and brain-jellied in preparation for takeover.

In reality, it's the good ol' unintended ad hoc conspiracy of unbridled capitalism, myriad (though not countless) individual, corporate, and governmental actors pursuing their own selfish interests, subverting every honorable intention of government into a mechanism for pursuit of wealth and advantage. It's just some folks gettin' rich by turning government-subsidized overproduction of a mono-culture crop (which, along with a couple others, is systematically depleting the Oglala Aquifer which provides water to eight midwestern states) into an industrial commodity which other folks can get rich by using as the cheapest-possible food-like substitute for actual food with which they can fill the aisles of Hel-Marts and Fat Food Franchises across the land - who make their daily bread by cramming the stuff down all our gullets.

And meanwhile, legislators from Everytown, Everywhere whose wealthiest donors are invested in, and whose constituents' jobs and food supplies depend on, the continuous oozing oleaginous wave of cornsludge, continue to subsidize a vast money crop (on which the processors are making more money than the farmers, natch) and pave the way for unbridled commerce in its products by dozens of little legislative acts which keep us drowning in corn syrup.

Our taxes have been funneled for decades through the farm subsidy program (whose original honorable impetus was simply to keep alive the American family farm) into the coffers of big agribusiness and their collaborators in the food-design and processing cartels, not only profiting on the faux food substitutes they feed us - but, through the health consequences, creating pervasive new markets for pharmaceuticals to pursue with the necessary palliatives for what ails us. Good ol' Big Ag. Feeding America! Good ol' Big Pharma. Keeping us healthy!

A rational health care program would punitively tax big agribusiness and food processors in proportion to their use of HFCS, and put that money straight into a national healthcare fund for everyone.

Or maybe we could start by killing the corn subsidy which provides ADM and the other bigboys artificially cheap raw material.

I quote from wikipedia (and dig the multiple horrors in production process, government-big-business collusion, and health costs):

Factors in the rise of HFCS use include production quotas of domestic sugar, import tariff on foreign sugar, and subsidies of U.S. corn, raising the price of sucrose and lowering that of HFCS, making it cheapest for many sweetener applications.

In the contemporary process, corn is milled to extract corn starch and an "acid-enzyme" process is used, in which the corn-starch solution is acidified to begin breaking up the existing carbohydrates. It is necessary to carry out the extraction process in the presence of mercuric chloride (0.01 M) in order to inhibit endogenous starch-degrading enzymes. High-temperature enzymes are added to further metabolize the starch and convert the resulting sugars to fructose.

The first enzyme added is alpha-amylase, which breaks the long chains down into shorter sugar chains – oligosaccharides. Glucoamylase is mixed in and converts them to glucose; the resulting solution is filtered to remove protein, then using activated carbon, and then demineralized using ion-exchange resins. The purified solution is then run over immobilized xylose isomerase, which turns the sugars to ~50–52% glucose with some unconverted oligosaccharides and 42% fructose (HFCS 42), and again demineralized and again purified using activated carbon. Some is processed into HFCS 90 by liquid chromatography, and then mixed with HFCS 42 to form HFCS 55. The enzymes used in the process are made by microbial fermentation.

Commercial production of corn syrup began in 1864. In the late 1950s, scientists at Clinton Corn Processing Company of Clinton, Iowa, tried to turn glucose from corn starch into fructose, but the process was not scalable. In 1965–1970 Yoshiyuki Takasaki, at the Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) developed a heat-stable xylose isomerase enzyme from yeast. In 1967, the Clinton Corn Processing Company obtained an exclusive license to manufacture glucose isomerase derived from Streptomyces bacteria and began shipping an early version of HFCS in February 1967. In 1983, the FDA approved HFCS as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS), and that decision was reaffirmed in 1996.

Prior to the development of the worldwide sugar industry, dietary fructose was limited to only a few items. Milk, meats, and most vegetables, the staples of many early diets, have no fructose, and only 5–10% fructose by weight is found in fruits such as grapes, apples, and blueberries. Most traditional dried fruits, however, contain about 50% fructose.

From 1970 to 2000, there was a 25% increase in "added sugars" in the U.S. After being classified as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1976, HFCS began to replace sucrose as the main sweetener of soft drinks in the United States. At the same time, rates of obesity rose. That correlation, in combination with laboratory research and epidemiological studies that suggested a link between consuming large amounts of fructose and changes to various proxy health measures, including elevated blood triglycerides, size and type of low-density lipoproteins, uric acid levels, and weight, raised concerns about health effects of HFCS itself.

Since 1789, the U.S. sugar industry has had trade protection against tariffs imposed by foreign-produced sugar, while subsidies to corn growers cheapen the primary ingredient in HFCS, corn. Industrial users looking for cheaper replacements rapidly adopted HFCS in the 1970s.

HFCS is easier to handle than granulated sucrose, although some sucrose is transported as solution. Unlike sucrose, HFCS cannot be hydrolyzed, but the free fructose in HFCS may produce hydroxymethylfurfural when stored at high temperatures; these differences are most prominent in acidic beverages. Soft drink makers such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi continue to use sugar in other nations but transitioned to HFCS for U.S. markets in 1980 before completely switching over in 1984. Large corporations, such as Archer Daniels Midland, lobby for the continuation of government corn subsidies.

When I was a kid, we did NOT consume fructose faux food. Sugar was sugar, candy had sugar, and we knew what it was and when we were eating it. It wasn't the entire diet. Despite the history of canned and frozen food from the 20s to the 70s, the fast food/fat food/fake food revolution started in the 80s, and has accelerated since.

But here's the thing: if it all just went away, if we rewound our food sources, tech, and marketing to what was generally available in the mid 70s, tastes would adapt. Everyone would get used to it.

The maddening thing is that it's all but inescapable. It's a full-time job to eat around the sludging pools of decontented corn.


Man I really want a Root Beer after reading all that


The high fructism doesn't have anything to do with good regional root beer. I shouldn't have sent the two trains of thought off from the same roundhouse, I guess.


That explains a lot - thanks. So it's like a lot of consumer products - the original small-batch products could have been wonderful but mass production destroys what was good about it. Well maybe next time I'm in the US I'll have to see if I can find some small producer of root beer. I'll be in NYC in July but I doubt there would be a small root beer producer in Manhattan!

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