Today's notes on national stories, local trends, random tastes, and other bycatch dredged up from the food media.
1. The Return of Peepsmania. Dyed Easter eggs, chocolate bunnies, sweetened egg breads -- they've all been eclipsed by America's ultimate holiday food, the Peep. The Washington Post posted the winners of its annual Peeps diorama contest, and Yum Sugar came out with the best of many, many listicles about creative things to bake with marshmallow chcks. Melissa Clark at the NY Times made her own Peeps -- which should by rights constitute an eye-rolling Martha Stewart stunt, but Clark's homey marshmallow animals, flavored and colored with saffron, pomegranate, and matcha, sound rather adult. Plus, Clark reveals that she understands the appeal of the Peep: She lets her animals sit out for a couple of days so they firm up and the sugar becomes a sandy shell. My mother taught me that little trick in the 1980s.
2. More on Gwyneth Paltrow's new cookbook. My Father's Daughter seems to have inspired more than magazine covers and countless blog rants and raves -- we've begun asking ourselves, as a nation: why? The Wall Street Journal talks to a few other middle-aged actresses who are channeling their fame into cooking shows and cookbooks as a second career. Skip the obligatory disclaimer from the Cooking Channel about the proven cooking skills of its hosts to the quotes from Paul Canales and WD-50's Wylie Dufresne at the end.
3. Flax Seeds Make Me Go All Andy Rooney. Why hasn't the whole "flax seeds are supernutrients" trend died yet? Sure, I have a penchant for whole-grain breads and crackers, but this week I discovered flax seeds secreted in everything I ate. They contribute little in terms of flavor, and they have a mucilaginous crunch that I can't stand. Worse yet, because they're so slippery, they nick in between my teeth and get lodged there, or escape from their housing and scatter across the table, the floor, or the couch cushions on my sofa, where they look exactly like mouse turds. I have no doubts about my ability to consume the appropriate amount of dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids on my own. There's no need to help me out here.