Saturday, November 17, 2012

An Eulogy to the Glorious Twinkie




One of the drawbacks about being a Southerner, ill regardless of color, up until the 1980’s or so was while that we were repeatedly exposed to national products and services on television such items and benefits were often unavailable in our areas. It seems incredibly silly now but when I was a small kid, I distinctly remember hearing some of my peers talk about trips to big cities such as Atlanta or Richmond and eating at McDonalds or Pizza Hut. Both “restaurants”, if I can abuse the term, did not appear in my small corner of South Carolina until the early 1980’s. Before that, we all quietly suffered with local burger places and pizzerias, which promptly went extinct when the national chains arrived.

It was the same with some products such as the newly endangered Hostess Twinkies. Saturday morning cartoons on the once exclusive big three networks would show commercials of rapturously enthralled kids chasing down some hapless parent that dared to come within reach while carrying a plate of Hostess Twinkies. Like the two ubiquitous and very tired national chains I mentioned above my area was not officially introduced to the spongy golden goodness until the early 80’s.

Before that, we were forced to live with snack products provided by a company working under the name of “Little Debbie.” Working under a strange inverse business arrangement the pretentious little snack princess was almost exclusively a Southern thing along with the most divinely inspired dough and sugary goodness of them all “Krispy Kreme” donuts. While we poor Southerners at least totally outclassed Northern folks on the donut front Little Debbie left a lot to be desired as far as household snacks go. They had nothing that could match Hostess Twinkies and when the aforementioned yellow delights filled with crème were finally introduced here in Dixie Little Debbie suffered a near collapse of business as the ravenous masses satisfied their pent up desire.

Down at the local Piggly Wiggle grocery store newly stocked shelves of Hostess Twinkies were stripped bare within minutes. Children cried tears of utter despair when their parents arrived too late to purchase a box. For this reason hoarding became an issue, even among family members.

Since I lived with my grandparents, I naturally had to deal with very sudden and unexpected visits by other family members. During these visits a box of Twinkies left out in clear view could, and usually were, devoured before my uncles, aunts, and cousins left again. For that reason, I learned to hide the Twinkies and not bring them out until the proverbial coast was clear. Yes, I freely admit I was a selfish little shit, but this is Twinkies we are talking about.

My special hiding place was in the lower kitchen cabinets behind ancient mason jars containing equally old Lima beans and other preserved vegetables. As the time passed, I eventually joined the army and left home spending several years stationed out at Fort Carson, Colorado. The passing of my beloved grandfather brought me home in 1989 and with many of my kinfolk we spent weeks cleaning out the house for my grandmother who herself was getting up there in age.

Delving into the kitchen cabinets brought many surprises, namely several huge mason jars filled to near bursting with pennies but what brought some laughs in a very sad situation was an unopened box of Hostess Twinkies that had spent close to a decade forgotten about. Now my kinfolk had much better sense than I had and turned their noses up at such antediluvian snack cakes. In fact, I was strongly urged just to throw them away.

But I was a soldier at the time who had spent years eating things that would send most people running to the toilet. Trust me, while there is a certain coolness in many corners such as teenagers and rough and ready macho men for eating army MRE rations from personal experience most civilians simply do not want to know what is mixed up in the food contained in those pouches. Moreover, do not get me started on the bugs and other critters I have tried while out on some survival class.

Sure enough, I was true to my nature and kept the box of Twinkies and later that night while in front of the television finished them all with a quart of ice-cold milk. Well I am afraid I will have to be anti-climatic here and write there were no terrible repercussions with my late night snack orgy. In fact the only surprise I can offer was how fresh and good those old Twinkies tasted.  

It is which much sadness that I recently learned that those running the Hostess Company are nothing but the typical corporate shits and have decided to cut their own throats and close the factory producing Twinkies and all other snacks instead of dealing fairly with their unionized workers. Many years have passed since the introduction of Twinkies and several companies are producing their own identical versions so the loss of this national treasure is somewhat mitigated. 

 Still though, I implore my fellow yellow spongy snack cake lovers to buy up all remaining Twinkies and stash them away to be shared with their current and future children as a rite of passage like learning to tie one’s shoes, getting a driver’s license, college graduation or getting laid. I have researched the expiration date on Twinkies and while they do stamp some pantywaist, nanny state inspired time limit on the box no greater than a year the best guess for when they actually go bad is on the other side of half a millennium. Now that is a freaking heritage to be admired and carefully shared for centuries. 

From CNN:


Twinkie hoarding has begun

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Just hours after Twinkies maker Hostess declared it will shut down for good, grocery stores nationwide are already experiencing a run on Twinkies and the company's other iconic products like Wonder Bread, Hostess Cup Cakes and Ding Dongs.
"We're definitely seeing a sharp increase in purchases of Hostess products today," said Mike Siemienas, spokesman for grocery store operator Supervalu. "We expect this will continue as more consumers become aware of the news.

13 comments:

lime said...

ok, i realize this may be regarded as sacrilege and i sincerely hope you still want to be friends after this...

i've had MREs and i've had twinkies. i'll take MREs over twinkies. little debbie is gross. hostess doesn't produce a single thing i enjoy. krispy kreme does not entice me even a little.

i can live with dunkin donuts but the local bakery i grew up with put all the chains to shame. as for mass produced baked yumminess the only one i want anything to do with, the one i asked people to ship to trinidad when i lived there, was tastykake. it's a philadelphia brand and i hear it's only made it as far south as a few pockets in virginia. you ever get one of those you'll know what love is.

Pixel Peeper said...

With Twinkies gone, what will we survive on after the nuclear zombie apocalypse?

Wait, I think I saw the answer in your post...bugs and critters.

Windsmoke. said...

We don't have Twinkies down here but they do sound yummmy and addictive indeed. There's nothing like a freshly cooked hamburger from your local fish & chip shop that has taste and character, unlike the hamburgers from the chain stores that taste very bland and like cardboard.

Mike Williams said...

Hi,
It's not so much the death of the twinkie I mourn. Its the loss of the Hostess brand to what turns out to be corporate greed. Twinkies and "Ding Dongs and Ho-Ho's will live on sold to other bakers like Yum brands of China and the venture capitalist weasels will get richer while the bakers and delivery people and other staff get thrown under the bus like so many proud American Workers.

Life As I Know It Now said...

your community was better off with the local restaurants but you already know that :)

Randal Graves said...

I understand that my reading comprehension skills aren't the finest, but did you praise Krispy Kreme, those circular sausages of sugared grotesquerie? I'd almost rather eat a Twinkie. If it wasn't made by some unionized slacker, of course.

Beach Bum said...

Lime: No problem about Twinkies and MRE's, but I will overlook this blatant and unholy sacrilege about Krispy Kreme only once;)

It's bizarre now but I actually remember people dressing up in their Sunday finest for the drive to the places where Krispy Kreme donuts were made. Even now people will wait in their cars for the "HOT NOW" neon sign to be turned signifying fresh donuts.

In all truth I can't eat more that two of the damn things now, anymore gives me a stomach ache.

Pixel: Bugs, other small critters and MRE's should do. I spent twenty-one years in the military and have never gotten a firm statement on how long MRE's can last. Sure, some say two to five years but other say they could rival the Twinkies.

Windsmoke: ABSOLUTELY!!!! It totally puzzles the Hell out of me why people here in the States will continually gravitate to national chain restaurants while on vacation. Where I live that is about all their is with it being a suburban hellhole.

But on vacation I have literally forced my family to try out local places. "Coconuts on the Beach" in Cocoa Beach, Florida and "Squid Lips" in Vero Beach, Florida come to mind.

Mike: Yeah, the Hostess workers really got screwed over this crap. Like I said Little Debbie ultimately copied the Twinkie but it leaves much to be desired.

Life As I Know It: Absolutely, but like I said to Windsmoke, here in Redneckistan crappy national chains is about all there is.

Randal: LOL!!!! Krispy Kreme is about a religion down here.

Akelamalu said...

I'd never heard of Twinkies, we don't have them over here, until our recent trip to America. We were told by our tour direct, at one refreshment stop, that we could get deep fried Twinkies - we declined. ;)

Red Nomad OZ said...

Even I've heard of Twinkies downunder - but I've never eaten one. Now I guess I never will! I didn't know it was something I should have put on the bucket list until it was no longer there ...

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

It kinda cracks me up that people are flocking to the stores to stock up on Hostess products now, because if all those "fans" had been buying the products all along, maybe the business wouldn't have gone belly up! TastyKakes were much more popular in Maryland when I was growing up, and after living in the south for so many years, a wide variety of them are finally available on Atlanta's grocery shelves. (They might reach your area in another decade or so... HA!) As for MREs, a friend of ours gave us some to try. Disgusting, but he and my husband say they're better than the C rations they ate in Nam.

Tim Jones said...

When I was a child my mother baked most of the bread we ate. I remember having a lunch at a friend's house and had a sandwich made with this wonderfully soft, smooth white bread. I actually experienced Wonder. Years later when I was expecting a visit from a beautiful woman, I asked her what I could have in the house to make her stay more comfortable. One request she made was "just no bread you can roll into little balls." So much for Wonder bread, but it is another icon victim of the new capitalism. RIP

Mike Williams said...

@Tim
My brother would add a few drops of worcestershire to the bread before rolling the bread balls. maybe she is one of his ex's?

Mr. Charleston said...

There are two things I thank God for helping me avoid... cigarettes and Twinkies.