FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

Adieu to to the Twinkie?

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English: Hostess Twinkies. Yellow snack cake w...

English: Hostess Twinkies. Yellow snack cake with cream filling. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the news we hear that the Twinkie may not be with us for very long.  Hostess, their maker, is closing its doors with the threatened loss of jobs due to union disputes.  For some of us, things will never be the same.  However, this morning I heard something about a company from Mexico is interested in buying them from Hostess.

People are always looking at labels for that comforting information: No Preservatives.  In the case of Twinkies, the ingredient list only includes one – sorbic acid and in very small amounts.  But that’s not the problem – Twinkies are the stars of the junk food world and we really should be more concerned about the main ingredients – Twinkies are about half sugar and half flour and loaded with oil to keep the moisture during their relatively long shelf life – 26 days.  Other ingredients include: high fructose corn syrup and added colors (yellow 5 and red 40) to name a few.  Bottom line:  Twinkies while not  the only food made with these ingredients may be considered in the running for the most perfect example of a processed food

When did our love affair with our beloved Twinkies begin?   Jimmy Dewar, a Hostess Chicago plant manager invented Twinkies in 1930.  He was trying to make more efficient the use of shortcake pans and for some reason, Twinkies were born.  He was inspired by a billboard advertisement for “Twinkle Toe Shoes”.  He reportedly ate three of them a day and lived to be 88 (this is not an endorsement).

How popular did Twinkies become?  When Hostess Teamsters had a strike in 2000, desperate Twinkie eaters paid up to $5000 for boxes on eBay.  Apparently, this is occurring again. Twinkies are being sold on the Internet like exquisite delicacies.

After the announcement of the Hostess closing, many consumers scoured the stores for boxes of the snacks along with their cousins, Ding Dongs, Ho Hos, and Zingers.  The snacks began appearing again on eBay and Craigslist advertised for hundreds of dollars.  A box of 10 Twinkies is about $10.00

Twinkies were even used in a murder defense and to this day is known as the “Twinkie Defense”.  In 1979, Dan White was acquitted of murder charges for killing San Francisco mayor George Moscone and city supervisor Harvey Milk.  He was given a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter because his lawyer argued that his mental state had been influenced by his high intake of Twinkies along with potato chips, and Coca-Cola.

Humans are not the only ones that find Twinkies delightful.  When a bunch of baboons escaped from an Ohio zoo in 1976, guess what was used to lure them back to their cages– you bet, Twinkies.

How are they made?  The crème inside is injected into baked cakes by a three-prong air injector.  You can see the evidence when you turn a Twinkie upside down (If you can find one).  Originally the flavor was banana but changed to vanilla because of a banana shortage during World War II.

So the sad demise of the Twinkie becomes the top of the news of the day despite other more pressing problems. But in all fairness, whatever their fate, they will be remembered by most of us as playing a giant role in U.S. history as well as fond memories of our childhoods.  Will the Twinkie make a comeback?  Time will tell.

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One thought on “Adieu to to the Twinkie?

  1. (Good riddance. Can Little Debbie go, too?)

    Like

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