The Washington Times-Herald

Columns

January 21, 2012

Saving the world 1 Twinkie at a time

WASHINGTON — A shock wave recently rumbled through our house.

My daughter heard that the Hostess Company had filed for bankruptcy and in a worst-case scenario, a rumor there might not be any more Twinkies.

The alert went out and she said that we needed to stock up on Twinkies— a phrase which is wrong on so many levels.

To begin with, there is no such thing as a reserve billet of Twinkies. The spongy, creamy delights are made to be eaten in rapid succession. Because if you don’t eat them all, someone else will.

Secondly, it is a proven fact that as we are being sucked into a black hole in 14 billion years, the only thing left on the planet will be Dick Clark, cockroaches and Twinkies.

So Twinkies will outlive humans even if we don’t have a significant stash.

Hostess said it needed to file for bankruptcy protection so it can reassess its place in the market. They are being squeezed out of the marketplace by rogue snack outfits who are trying to trick our palates into believing fruits and whole grains taste as good as iced toppings and cream filling.

Even if the Twinkie goes the way of the dinosaur and all good things must come to an end, there will be a special place in our hearts for Twinkies. If you grew up in the 1960s or ‘70s, you know Hostess was one of the four food groups. And, maybe the only reason to try to make your mother happy was the possibility of a snack cake at the end of the rainbow.

This is the company that gave us the Fruit Pie, the Snowball and the HoHo, each time upping the ante until they produced the ultimate snack sensation — the Chocodile, Twinkie 2.0. Hostess took the Twinkie and then, with a masterful stroke of brilliance, sealed it an impenetrable chocolate skin that secured the cake and cream, like Han Solo encased in carbonite.

When the Chocodile is teamed up with Dolly Madison’s Zingers, Drakes Ring Dings and Cap’n Crunch, they form a Super Friends-like alliance that turns one’s cupboard into an after-school hunger-fighting Hall of Justice.

I would say that the only time Hostess has ever stepped up, swung and missed was the Suzy Q. It’s just two simple chocolate cakes with a light-cream filling. It seems to say “she has a nice personality though” and then sits alone in the back of the pantry like an ugly girl at the junior prom (or a 1983 Chevy Cavalier parked next to ... well anything else).

So where did the decline and inevitable fall of the snack world really begin? I would venture to guess it was right around the same time do-gooders, bureaucrats and snack police began to blame cream filling in the middle for our kids’ cream filling in their middles.

Back in the day, when Mom dropped off a big plate of birthday cupcakes slathered in gooey icing at school, it was probably the only day Junior was ever dropped off as well. Other than that, Junior would push, pedal or walk to school, and I guarantee one thing: He would run home — especially if there was a glass of milk and a Twinkie waiting.

                    •••

T. Daniel Lancaster and his family confess their love for all things Hostess and will do all they can to help the company out of bankruptcy. It’s the American way.



 

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