Reality Check

Carolyn Magner

Ode to the Twinkie

| November 17, 2012

Twinkie, I hardly knew ye. I haven’t had a Hostess Twinkie in a long time. In fact, the last one I ate was after running a 5K. Some politically incorrect race director set out a box of Twinkies and Ding Dongs next to the more traditional plate of apples, oranges and power bars. As you may imagine, the runners descended upon the confections until there was just a pile of empty cellophane wrappers in a heap next to the untouched plate of fruit.

When I bit into my own sweet treat, the chemical and corn sugar created vanilla cream, injected into an puff of airy, finger-shaped cake, tasted exactly like I thought it would–gently sweet and filled with nostalgia. I was transported back to elementary school where sometimes there was an unexpected treat nestled inside my red-plaid lunch box.

My mother was ahead of her times. She didn’t allow TV or sweets but now and then, when she wasn’t looking, my dad would toss in a Ring Ding , Ho Ho or a Twinkie along side the bologna and Kraft sliced American cheese sandwich on Wonder bread. He would get a kick out of how surprised/grateful/overwhelmed I would be by the culinary delight.

Back then, a treat was just that; something unexpected and rare.

Which is what made the 5K-snack choice so counter-intuitive. Nobody hands out junk food at a foot race these days. But the sheer fun found in eating a silly, nutritionally deficient confection of dubious ingredients, made a lot of overly serious runners laugh at themselves and unwrap another one.

Like cockroaches, the Twinkie is said to be indestructible although it appears the economy, labor issues and health conscious consumers contributed to it’s recent demise (and the loss of 18,500 jobs) after 82 years on the market.

I hate to see the last Twinkie leave the grocery store shelf and am annoyed by articles either berating Hostess for not getting onboard with healthy choices, bashing the unions for creating the untenable business model or smugly saying good riddance to a bad product.

Because, when a product exits the market, it takes with it the collective memories of a time before every food choice was a decision based on calories/fat/sodium/carbs and was more about enjoying a sugar rush for no good reason other than because you could.

Good-bye my old friend!

 

 

 

 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002305852381 Richard M. Gaskill

    People in the Northeast will miss the Drakes cakes – Yankee Doodles , Devil Dogs , Swiss Rolls …. that were better than Hostess cakes but will be gone because Interstate Bakeries bought Drakes .
    Many bakeries have been sold . Bimbo bought Sara Lee . I haven’t the “Nobody doesn’t like Bimbo ” commercial yet though .