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(2012-11-30 18:43:53)
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The Joy of Peeps (and of Life) by Denise Ryan
For some unknown reason I have always been fascinated by the Peep (the cute yellow marshmallow chick put in Easter baskets galore). I can't explain it. But I am not alone; there are dozens and dozens of blogs and websites dedicated to the Peep.
I was waxing poetic about my new Motivation by Chocolate seminar and that Peeps were now made in chocolate when my friend Karen mentioned that JustBorn, the company that makes Peeps, was one of her clients and she had toured the factory. "OHMYGOD!" I exclaimed,5685 Ugg Fox Fur Short Black Boots! "Can you get me in? Please oh please oh please oh please?"
And thus I got to see how Peeps are made.
To see a Peep made is a very interesting thing. I have no idea how the engineers figured out how to get a machine to do it, but it is fascinating to watch. Cindy Glick, JustBorn's Director of Corporate Affairs, calls this machine the Mama Hen and she births a lot of Peeps. First she's loaded with this marshmallow glop. Then the Mama Hen makes the base of the Peep, sweeps in and does the body, and finishes with the head - the end forming the tip of the beak. The Mama Hen machine pumps out a long row of these babies all at once - in sets of five. I swear I could watch that machine all day. What a feat of engineering! The Eiffel Tower - bah,1984 Ugg Fox Fur Tall Chestnut Boots. That has nothing on the Mama Hen.
Peeps have their own website and there is a fan club you can sign up for. There is also a Peepmobile, but I didn't get to drive it. Or ride in it. Or actually even see it.
Okay, so the Peeps come out of the Mama, they ride down the line and they get some colored sugar sprinkled on them, but the sugar is also on the conveyor when they are born, so it's on their base too. These little guys are white marshmallow on the inside and whatever color they are making on the outside. They are completely covered. Check them out sometime - zero white shows on these babies. The art form is high. The only small "flaw" (if you even call it that) is that five Peeps are joined together. These are not individual Peeps. But hey, why be picky? We're taking a feat of engineering here!
So vats of marshmallow are loaded in, cute Peeps come out, they are coated with colored sugar - it was at this point that Cindy snagged a defective Peep (although to my eyes it looked perfect) off the line. Actually there is a little chute the defective ones are routed to. (Don't worry - if possible they will be recycled. JustBorn practices as much recycling as they can.)
Back to Cindy snagging a Peep. She grabs one right off the line (doesn't even have its eyeballs yet) and hands it to me. It's still warm! It's even melty! Imagine a toasted marshmallow but with no crispy edges. It's like having a hot Krispy Kreme donut. I am ruined for life and only want hot Peeps. Wow it was good!!
But I want to know how they put the eyes on the Peeps. I've wondered about this all my life. I want to see the eyes,1984 Ugg Fox Fur Tall Chocolate Boots!! I think I was chanting, "Eyeballs, eyeballs!" and maybe stomping my feet. Cindy smiles and promises she will show me that before we leave.
We also see a line where they are making sugar free hearts. Cindy grabbed me a warm one of these. I was jumping up and down with glee at this point and cheering on the Ooompa Loompas (also known as JustBorn employees). Massive amounts of sugar and shiny colorful candies do that to me.
They were also making orange eggs and not only were they orange; they have some multicolored shiny sprinkles in with the sugar coating,it is actually the opposite of selfish.. They are really pretty. I ate one of these off the line too. I was starting to feel a little ill at this point, but it was still awesome!
These are interesting because they have to hand pack all these seasonal shapes. Peeps get packed automatically, but these have to be packed by hand. Three ladies were doing it while we were there and they were moving fast. But if one messed up, you could see how an egg pile up could happen. Like that Lucy episode. I tried to distract one of them.
One of the three started talking with us about how much she loved to eat Peeps. She was skinny as a rail and you could tell she loved the product and her work. She was way too tall to be an Ooompa Loompa. Plus the Oompa Loompa never really seemed very happy in Willy Wonka. Actually they were kind of creepy.
The distraction didn't work - no egg pile up - these ladies are pros.
Cindy Glick was looking at us with a gleam in her eye as she leads us off to see how they put the eyes on the Peeps. We climb up some stairs to a little room (kind of like a control tower). We enter the next room where two Ooompa Loompas are watching a conveyor belt loaded with Peeps coast through a machine. There are a lot of Peeps going through - not as many as the Mama Hen makes - maybe about half that amount. And I hear these "pa" "pa" sounds - like an air gun. A soft popping sound. I, of course, am still on my sugar high and am excitedly interrogating the Ooompa Loompas. "Is that air?" "It looks like of like it's dripping, but it's not, is it?" Whoa, those on the edge are off the mark!" I start going "pa" "pa" - I am fascinated! I thought people might have to do the eyes, but oh no! People do more handwork on the seasonal pieces. Like the Gingerbread Man Peeps.
I could hang out and watch this for hours. Eyeless Peeps ride under this machine and an air gun of sorts puffs out the perfect amount of color to make two eyes on each tiny Peep head. I hope you have a new appreciation for the artistry of the Peep eyeball.
Now what does all this have to do with you,5685 Ugg Fox Fur Short Chocolate Boots? How can touring a candy factory help anyone? Well, let me tell you.
You have to have a passion in your life. If passion is too crazy for you, call it a hobby. Something you find fun, something exciting. What's going to keep you smiling during tough times? What captures your attention? Amuses you? Don't just write this off as silly or not worthy of your time. It's okay to have fun and enjoyment. In fact, what's life without it?
Your passion will bring you great opportunities. Tell everybody about it! Your enthusiasm for it will be contagious and people will want to help you or take part. Karen set up the JustBorn tour when she found out how crazy I was about candy. People want to be part of your excitement.
After our tour, my friend Karen sent a thank you e-mail to Cindy and she responded, "The truth is that Denise's spirited enthusiasm was contagious. Seeing Just Born through Denise's delighted eyes reminded me again why I do love it here. The two of you gave me a gift as well. Thanks."
How great is that? Let people see your excitement - we all want to be around people who are passionate. There are too darn few of them! Your excitement may rekindle theirs. I a lot of the JustBornites enjoyed our visit. How great it must be to see how much joy your work brings to others.
Your passion or your hobby will unite you with your tribe. I have met so many fascinating people through this crazy candy adventure! Those I've mentioned above, some of my fellow bloggers. The Internet has made it possible to connect with people all over the world who are excited about the same things you are. Your tribe is waiting for you too. Do you want to have fun with them or sit around worrying about things you can't control?
Your passion can keep you from getting boring,risk taking. Are you learning new stuff, having new adventures, meeting new people,It's Not Good to Hear Voices? If not - get on it! You either grow, learn and change or get boring as hell.
Your passion can set you free! If you are obsessing over a person, the stock market, or anything else you can't control, your passion gives you something else to focus on. Something that you enjoy. It gives you your power back. I wasn't worrying about anything when I was touring JustBorn - I was totally in the moment. Your passion brings you back to you - who you really are.

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