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Submitted by on March 7, 2011 – 12:08 PM58 Comments

During a quick run to the deli for coffee and kitty litter, I spotted a sign at the dollar store: "HAPPY EASTER." That means it's Peep season. Even better, that means it's "guess the brand name of the cut-rate Peep knockoff the dollar store will actually carry" season. "Popes"? "Meeps"? "Chirpz"?

What I forgot, as I do every year, is that in order to get to Easter-candy-and-stale-extruded-marshmallow season, we all have to survive the mercifully brief but still thoroughly repulsive St.-Pat's-novelty season. I didn't forget for long, alas, because right by the register at the deli is a primitive altar of green Sno Balls, on which I promptly sacrificed my excitement about speckled-egg malt balls. …Oh, I beg your pardon: the Hostess Corporation would like us to call the green Sno Balls "Lucky Puffs." Apparently, each different color of holiday-themed Sno Ball has a special name: Scary Cakes (the orange Halloween ones); Glo Balls, which glow in the dark, which the regulation cerise Sno Ball kind of already does, but okay; and springtime's lavender Sno Ball, the Hopper, whose name I assume derives from the Easter bunny, but it's much more enjoyable if you use the Wire definition.

It's not as bad as the Shamrock Shake, but the two products share that watery-pale institutional green that implies all sorts of negatives, like Thorazine or nausea, or a valance/tunic worn by Dorothy Zbornak. I don't dispute St. Patrick's Day's right to offer a complement of superfluous themed snacks; I just wish the theme's color weren't so reminiscent of illness and frump.

MOST disgusting St. Patrick's Day snack/beverage:

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  • cayenne says:

    I have never had an "Irish Potato" candy – for which I am truly thankful – but the idea of coconut creme & cinnamon together is gag-inducing enough to vote for on principle. My stomach immediately went from pre-lunch grumblies to that self-protective "Don't even think about swallowing something like that cos I'll make sure it doesn't stay down" insta-nausea thing stomachs do. Revolting.

  • tadpoledrain says:

    OOH, SHAMROCK SHAKES! I haven't had one of those in forever. Today might be the day. I liked it when, in honor of… Finding Nemo? Whatever the connection was, it made no sense–McD's had some sort of black-raspberry shake. It was better than it had any right to be.

  • Whitney says:

    I have loved Sno Balls since I was a child, and yet I can't bring myself to eat any color but original pink. Particularly not the green ones, which remind me a bit too much of what happens to old tennis balls when they spend all winter in the damp corner of the garage. Or maybe it's just that introducing all these new colors overrides the nostalgia factor that makes the pink ones still seem enticing.

    Malted milk ball eggs are the best. Also good – the Cadbury solid chocolate eggs with the candy shell. In New York they only seem to be available at random CVSes.

  • Laura says:

    Are you kidding me? I LOVE Shamrock Shakes!

  • Jess Tait says:

    Oh Robin's Eggs. How deliciously you elevate the humble malted milk ball with your crunchy candy shell. Yay Easter candy!

  • Jeanne says:

    Green bagels. When I was in elementary school, someone's dad worked wherever they were made so we got them free every year on St. Patrick's Day. Needless to say they did not deserve to be called bagels. They were these unholy green, circular, doughy, tasteless, individually wrapped…things. Add that to the fact that I had to eat that God-awful corned beef and cabbage for dinner and it was most definitely not a good day for eating.

  • penguinlady says:

    Being of Irish descent, it's kind of weird that I don't recall ever having any sort of St Patrick's Day candy – not like jelly beans for Easter or chocolate for Christmas. Maybe we had green jujubes or gumdrops, but I don't think we even had an Irish-themed candy dish, like we did for every other holiday known to man. I think my great-grandfather lived through too much Irish persecution, so we downgraded St Pat's in our house, although the wearin' o' the green was mandatory.

  • Christy M says:

    I like Shamrock Shakes too! I've never even heard of Irish Potato Candy, but I'd try anything with coconut once.

    My sister and mother LOVE Peeps. They like them better stale. They buy them in mass quantities and deiberately slash the cellophane so they go stale before they can be eaten. Nasty.

  • Rebecca U says:

    I'm thinking this might be regional. I haven't seen or heard of the first two choices.

    I'm in California.

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    @ceyenne, I'm with you. The thought of those two things in combination made my stomach turn to resentful, bilous water in an instant. BLARGH.

    What is it with America, holidays, and colors not found in nature? The blinding pink of a Sno-Ball and the pale, sickly shimmering of a Shamrock Shake took work to design. They weren't just freak happenstances that grew in the corner of a lab one day, a team of professionals had to sit down and say "Glowing cerise that in any normal circumstance would stand for 'You Have Just Recieved A Fatal Dose Of Radiation?' Perfect! And get that 'Rejected For Frankenstein's Monster's Skin On The Basis That It Was Too Revolting' green over to the McD's suits pronto!"

  • Bridget says:

    With a name like Bridget and a birthday right around St. Patrick's Day, Shamrock Shakes were a yearly ritual. Until I noticed the scary tongue-coat they leave behind.

    Find some nice old lady who makes Irish Potatoes from scratch. It makes all the difference!

  • pomme de terre says:

    Man, those little potato candies are so realistic and cute and clever that I am always half-tempted to buy them, but then I remember that they are beyond disgusting and I'd be happier eating a raw fingerling potato.

  • attica says:

    Is a shamrock shake flavored? I imagine it to be minty, but I suppose it could just be greened-up 'vanilla'.

  • Margaret says:

    My adorable daughter, while out shopping with her grandparents, was so excited to bring me an Irish Potato. "Mommy, it's a potato! But it's candy!" I didn't have the heart to tell her that it had the consistency of foam rubber with sand on it. Blah.

  • Jenn says:

    The box in the picture says "original" – does that mean there are different flavors of Irish Potatoes?

  • ElizabethA says:


    >>> What is it with America, holidays, and colors not found in nature?
    That might be a question for minds grander than we humble TN readers. Anyone looking for a thesis or dissertation theme?

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    I love the potato candies, but: they look like poo. Dusty poo. I'd like to thank Mr. S for 1) pointing that out, 2) coining the term "poo-tato," and 3) hating coconut as a kid so that I got them all to myself at Eastertime.

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    @Elizabeth A, don't you mean "DESSERTation"?

    Ha ha ha! Oh, I'm sorry. I'll go away now.

  • Allison says:

    I swear McDonald's changed their formula for Shamrock Shakes about 5 years ago. They used to be deliciously minty, like they were made from actual mint ice cream. Now they taste like some horrible mint-ish flavoring concoction has been dumped into the mix and it's wretched. Has anyone else had a similar experience? I refuse to believe that it's just my tastebuds "maturing" or whatever the hell.

  • Rachel says:

    Wait a second – there is a species of Sno-Ball that glows in the dark? And people EAT this? I cannot think of a single instance (drug-addled or non) in which I could be persuaded to eat something that glows in the dark. Yick.

    Also, I hate Peeps so very very very very very very very much.

  • Natalie says:

    The Shamrock Shake is delicious, I don't know what you're on about.

  • Lindsay says:

    What are these Shamrock Shakes and where can I get one? I feel like I can't take a stand on either side of this love/hate debate..!

  • V says:

    Shamrock Shakes are the greatest milkshake on earth. The end.

  • Mystery Amanda says:

    High five to Rachel. I would love to like Peeps (and I think my family thinks I was switched at birth because I don't), but one bite and I'm looking for somewhere to spit it out.

    Did anybody else find themselves losing a certain amount of their taste for sweets as they got older?

  • Julie says:

    I've never tried the other two, but Shamrock Shakes taste like cold toothpaste. They have to be the worst.

  • Retta says:

    My sister is from the PEEPS Orthodox branch. She loves PEEPS but they have to be the little chicky kind and they have to be yellow. Any other item, in any other color made from the PEEPS stuff is considered evil. And those who indulge in such sin are to be shunned. It is great fun to produce those little PEEP snowmen at Christmas dinner and listen to the ranting begin.
    I try to be sympathetic to her plight because I feel the same way about candy corn. It has to be yellow, orange and white!!!!

  • StillAnotherKate says:

    @penguinlady I'm with you. We were never so much about the food nor did we have the green candy. We were a good, old school Irish family and we had the requisite party in the evening.

    But the good Lord help anyone who wore orange on St Patrick's Day and tried to talk to my father. If he simply ignored your existence, you were lucky. Very, very lucky.

  • BHen says:

    Shamrock Shakes are awesome! Store-bought Irish potatoes are disgusting, way too much cinnamon. But homemade ones are delicious. I've never had a "Lucky Puff", so I guess I will not be voting in this poll.

  • Laura says:

    A couple months ago, there was a recipe for Martha Stewart-ized potato candies (or whatever you'd call them. Lumps?) in her magazine. I only remember because the recipe was "brick of cream cheese, stick of butter, pound of powdered sugar, mixer, roll in cinnamon."
    It was horrifying, yet secretly intriguing.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    You had me at "brick."

  • Jeanne says:

    @Mystery Amanda- It's the exact opposite in my family, I'm the only one that likes them and everyone else thinks they're disgusting. Ph well. More for me!

    I'm not a purist when it comes to Peeps, but I do have rules. I prefer the yellow chick shape, though yellow bunnies are also acceptable. Purple and green are okay, as long as it's still the original flavor. No strawberry or mint flavored peeps for me thankyouverymuch.

  • Soylent says:

    Potato Candy? Green Sno Balls? Oh America, I love you sometimes.

    Meanwhile, in Australia, I'll just have to content myself with my annual challenge to eat my own bodyweight in Cadbury Creme Eggs before they disappear again at the end of April

  • Lizzie says:

    I used to be anti-Peeps, but a few years ago, the Washington Post initiated an annual contest in which readers build very elaborate dioramas using Peeps–the best diorama wins. The contest is very, very funny, and the Post posts pictures of the entries. Go to the Post web site and look it up–you will not be disappointed.

    I still think Peeps taste disgusting, but they make excellent art projects.

  • Rachel says:

    Oh God, Peeps have other "flavors" besides "diabetes?" The horror, it grows.

    If you can get your McDonald's to do so, ask them for a half-Shamrock/half-chocolate shake. You're welcome. You're also diabetic now.

  • frogprof says:

    I canNOT believe you didn't mention SweeTarts Chicks, Ducks, and Bunnies. They are THE pot-at-the-end-of-the-rainbow [to mix my holiday metaphors] as far as I'm concerned … and Walgreen's even gave me a coupon if I would just buy FOUR MORE BAGS of the things.

    So I did.

    Talk about tongue effects … you eat enough of these [and oh, I do] and your tongue looks like your parents were at least part Chow-chow. And the roof of your mouth gets all thore becuth you've been thucking on them inthtead of biting them … And for those of us d'un certain âge, receding gums make the citric acid all the more fun.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    They've recently Peep-troduced the brown bunny, a cocoa-flavored, poo-colored version of the bunny Peep. Nenh.

  • JB says:

    I am pro-Shamrock shakes, because in general I approve of minty desserts, and do not find that seafoam green color off-putting. In fact, I spent a semester abroad in Scotland in a dorm that was painted completely in that minty pale green color and felt it oddly soothing, despite the rumors that the dormitory had been modeled after a women's prison in Sweden.

    @Rachel: A half chocolate/ half Shamrock shake? You are an evil genius and I salute you for it, type 1 diabetes be damned, because I loved the mint chocolate shakes that I used to be able to get at Steak N Shake before I moved out of the midwest.

  • Stephanie says:

    The only option here I've heard of is the Shamrock Shake – I'm also in California so I agree there might be some regionalism.

    I once got sick after having a shamrock shake, and even though it was from carsickness, not the shake itself, it took me a LONG time to get over that and stop blaming the drink for me upchucking on my front steps. Needless to say I have not had one in years. But I do remember them being awesome.

  • Heather says:

    Ugh – I made the mistake of ordering Irish Potatoes years ago from a gourmet food site. They weren't dyed red, though – they were kind of a sickly beige color. That should have been my first warning.

  • Cyntada says:

    "…a cocoa-flavored, poo-colored version of the bunny Peep."

    Given the astounding number of Peeps that go through the assembly line a *little* too fast, and end up shaped like actual poo, that could be a really REALLy bad idea. And: Hee!

  • Katherine says:

    Those Peeps dioramas MAKE Easter for me now. I don't even like eating them so much but the dioramas are so cute.

  • GirlInGreenwood says:

    "…a cocoa-flavored, poo-colored version of the bunny Peep."

    I have a horrifying vision of one of these things fellating that greasy fellow responsible for The Brown Bunny. Gahhhhhhh.

  • attica says:

    I see that McD's is now tarting up their shakes (not holiday related, AFAIK) with whipped cream and maraschino cherry garnish. I was very surprised to encounter that for the first time two weeks ago. So gone are the paper cups, in comes the clear plastic cup with the dome lid.

    I blame the frou-frou coffee-drink business.

  • Katherine says:

    Yeah I was pro-shamrock shake before but they taste less like a mint milkshake now and more like a green vanilla shake. And I HATE maraschino cherries. They are foul, and my local McD's can't handle not putting them on the shake.

  • Michelle says:

    Horrified to hear about the whipped cream and cherry, but love the shamrock shake! There's of course a website out there for people trying to find the shake.

  • mspaul says:

    Ahhh, Easter Peeps season – it's the most wonderful time of the year! I am a Peeps purist in that I do not truck with all the flavored/coated/stuffed crap they have been coming out with recently. But during Easter season I do prefer the bunnies to the chicks because I feel they have a better sugar to marshmallow ratio. Yes, I have actually spent time thinking about this.

    Every year I mean to have a Shamrock Shake, only to remember on March 18th that it's that time of year.

  • StillAnotherKate says:

    Every year my friends and I spend Easter weekend together and tradition has had us, for the last ten years or more, making a cake. Said cake is then given over to me to be decorated. With Peeps. We've had Peeps ice skating, Peeps playing chess, Peeps mountain climbing a swiss roll cake. Last year, however, I think I out did myself – the theme was "Marriage Equality" and we had two blue bunny peeps getting married by a pink peep. We created an aisle outlined in jelly beans and decorated with pink and purple candy flower confetti. Many yellow , pink and blue peeps gathered to witness the union.

    Not sure how I'll top that this year.

    So . . .Peep Cake – fun to make, sickly sweet to eat, murder on the teeth. But oh so fun to create!

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    People, why do you make me ASK for photos of cute and awesome things?!

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    There's plenty of photos of awesome Peep Dioramas on Seattle's newspaper site,! They have a Peeps diorama contest every year too and run a full week's worth of contenders in the paper.

    My work also holds pumpkin carving and Peeptacular diorama contests every year and the results are AWESOME. Amy-March-thwarted-creativity-finds-an-outlet-that-doesn't-involve-fire AWESOME.

  • Cora says:

    @Whitney, you have totally hit on a new candy marketing scheme. If Jelly Belly can successfully sell "Every Flavor Beans" based on the Harry Potter series with flavors like booger and vomit and earwax, then Sno Balls should be able to market "Old Moldy Tennis Balls {Left In A Corner Of The Garage For Two Years}." Also, I'm kind of surprised that there's a debate going on about the flavor of Shamrock Shakes. The flavor is Light Green.

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