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Food Fight: Easter basket preferences can reveal personality, psychiatrist finds

| Friday, March 29, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
Marshmallow peeps
Marshmallow peeps
Marshmallow Peep
Marshmallow Peep

Pack rat. Procrastinator. Clean freak. Life of the Party. Introvert. Idealist. Ice queen. Rebel.

Which of these terms describes you? Forget the Rorschach test, your daily horoscope, or the kind of women's magazine quiz that asks, “What Color Crayon Is Your Man?”

Look instead within the Easter basket, with its high-fructose hoard of peeps, jelly beans, eggs and bunnies.

Your taste in Easter candy can convey more personal information than computer spyware. Sweet jelly beans vs. spicy. Fresh Peeps vs. stale. Plastic eggs vs. the colored hard-boiled variety. These are very telling choices to a psychologist, marketing researcher or FBI serial-killer profiler.

Alan R. Hirsch, M.D., is a psychiatrist and neurologist with the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. He and his colleagues have studied over 18,000 individuals and linked particular character traits to varieties of ice cream, pizza, snack food, coffee, tea, lemonade, cheese, vodka, toothpaste, nuts, fruit, chocolate, spices, candy and chicken condiments.

He shared some of his findings in “What Flavor Is Your Personality?” (Sourcebooks, 2001).

Even a penchant for hollow chocolate bunnies can provide a clue to one's personality, he says.

“If you prefer hollow, you tend to be more of a thrill-seeker, seeking challenging experiences,” Hirsch says. “Those who prefer solid, you tend to be risk-adverse. You tend to be satisfied with current life. You're a loyal and true friend.

“We were able to correlate the different food choices with the different personality type,” Hirsch says.

However, there's no definitive answer why people like what they do.

Food can even predict romantic compatibility, he says. He once received an inquiry from a trial attorney in California who wanted to know if he could use food choices to evaluate potential jury members.

“I told the trial attorney not to choose someone who prefers cheese curls unless he was without question innocent, because cheese curl lovers tend to be hyper-moral and tend to see things as all black or white.”

We conducted its own unscientific and unsubstantiated study of what your choice of Easter candy may say about you.


The first Peeps were made by squeezing marshmallow through a pastry tube into a mold. It took 27 hours to make just one of the spongy little chicks. The Peeps' creator, the Rodda Company in Lancaster, Pa., was bought in 1953 by Just Born, a candy company in nearby Bethlehem. The following year, Just Born devised a way of mass-producing the Peeps. This Easter, for the first time, Just Born will produce 1 billion peeps.

If you like:

Fresh Yellow Peeps: you are sociable optimist. You tend to say “Anywho.”

Stale peeps: You are a procrastinator.

Frozen peeps: You have commitment issues.

Microwaved peeps: You are impulsive and impatient, a control freak.

Lavender peeps: You own two Pomeranians that you named Siegfried and Roy.

Peeps slow-roasted as shish kebab: There are warrants out for you in at least three different states.


Dyed, plastic, milk or dark chocolate, Faberge vs. Pysanky — there's a mine of data in those oval shapes. The egg is an ancient pagan symbol of fertility and renewal whose symbolism goes back to ancient Babylon. Early Christians reportedly were forbidden to eat eggs during Holy Week. These special “Holy Week” eggs came to be decorated and associated with the resurrection. Some have likened rolling Easter eggs to the stone rolling away from the tomb of Jesus on the first Easter.

If you like:

Solid chocolate eggs: You iron your socks.

Hollow chocolate eggs: You are empty and unfulfilled, but you hide the howling existential void inside you with a brave smile. They will be sorry when you are gone.

Chocolate egg with caramel center: You are a free spirit. You wear clothing made from soybeans.

Dyed hard-boiled Easter eggs: You would have made a good Brady.

Plastic eggs: You work and play well with others, but only if you can get something in return.

Peanut butter egg with coconut center: You have a vanity license plate.

Jelly beans

Jelly beans evolved from Turkish Delight, a sweet-and-chewy confection that was popular during the Ottoman Empire. Each year, 16 billion jelly beans are made for Easter, according to the National Confectioners Association. During Beatlemania, George Harrison made the mistake of saying he liked Jelly Babies and was pelted with jelly beans by American audiences. Unlike the softer Jelly Babies, these sweet projectiles stung like rubber bullets.

If you like:

Sweet jelly beans: You are a joiner, a team player, a go-along-to-get-along-kind of person.

Black-licorice jelly beans: You're a somewhat-devious charmer and seducer. You could easily win on “Survivor” if you felt like it.

Spice-flavored jelly beans: There is a rebellious, non-conformist side to you. You secretly long to buy a pair of black leather pants.

Gourmet jelly beans, like cappuccino or pimento: You wear a Bluetooth and air-kiss. You can confuse even the most seasoned barista with your maddeningly complicated coffee order.


The Keystone State was the gateway to the introduction of the Easter Bunny to America. In the 1700s, Pennsylvania Dutch brought their German tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.” Seventy-six percent of people eat the ears on chocolate bunnies first, according to the National Confectioners Association.

If you like:

Milk chocolate bunnies: You are set in your ways. You've always wanted to “press 1 for further options” when you hear the pre-recorded voice prompt, but are unsure you want to risk it.

Dark chocolate bunnies: You root for Snow White in the animated Disney movie, but you secretly think the wicked queen is much better-looking.

Vanilla bunnies: He's cheating on you.

Peanut butter bunnies: You are cynical, deluded, greedy, craven and self-destructive. You are a member of Congress.

Bacon-flavored bunnies: You are promiscuous. You don't know when to quit. Like now. Stop it! OK, that's just sick.

William Loeffler is a contributing writer to Trib Total Media.

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