I thought Twinkies would live forever, both as a company, and as a non biodegradable product that the next Millennium would find in time capsules or solid land fills across the country. In fact, I will bet that most of you who get my emails in foreign countries have no idea what I am referring to.
So, what is a Twinkie? They have been around in 1930, as a snack or junk food. In fact, I would bet there are some remnants of those original Twinkies from 1930 in museums or discarded school children’s lunch boxes in land fills across the country.
Twinkies are an American snack cake, often found in children’s lunch boxes, made by Hostess Brands. They are advertised as a “Golden sponge cake with creamy filling.” They were invented in 1930 by James Alexander Dewar, a baker for the Continental Baking Company. Interestingly, it was a “fill-in” product for the company, when baking machines for cream filled strawberry shortcake were idle during the time strawberries were out of season.
Dewar came up with a banana cream filling, though later switched to vanilla cream, when World War 2 imposed banana rationing. This change was so popular that vanilla cream became permanent, though several flavors have come and gone, including banana and strawberry.
But in January of this year, Hostess, the manufacturer of Twinkies, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. And just this week, the company, unable to reach a reasonable labor agreement with their union, decided to cease production, and liquidate all assets, including the Twinkie name. This is yet another reason that we lose jobs overseas: greedy union employees, bosses, and fat pensions! Perhaps another baking company will buy the franchise name and obtain the secret recipe for Twinkies. They are still available in Canada.
I may go out and find some today. I will save them as a Christmas present for those of you who live in the area. It will be a fitting way to end 2012.
The ingredients are: Enriched wheat flour, sugar, corn syrup, niacin, water, high fructose corn syrup, vegetable and/or animal shortening – containing one or more of partially hydrogenated soybean, cottonseed and canola oil, and beef fat, dextrose, whole eggs, modified corn starch, cellulose gum, whey, leavenings (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), salt, cornstarch, corn flour, corn syrup, solids, mono and diglycerides, soy lecithin, polysorbate 60, dextrin, calcium caseinate, sodium stearoyl lactylate, wheat gluten, calcium sulphate, natural and artificial flavors, caramel color, yellow No. 5, red #40.
A single Twinkie contains 2.5 grams of saturated fat. Better yet, some genius came up with the deep-fried Twinkie. First the Twinkie is frozen, then dipped into batter, then deep-fried. It was the Texas State Fair that came up with this idiotic idea. Now, they are sold in fairs across the country, as well as numerous restaurants, including some downtown Las Vegas casinos.
Urban legend says Twinkies have a rather long shelf life, as I alluded to earlier. The legend is false, despite all of the chemicals used in making Twinkies. They can last about 25 days, not the ten, fifty or one hundred year lives that have become legend. If it were true, I am sure some crazy Texan would build another Alamo out of Twinkies. The official company line is 7 to 10 days only.
President Clinton dropped a Twinkie in a Millennium time capsule back in 1999. I guess he figured it would last longer than apple pie or a Cuban cigar. But as children, we loved to have Twinkies in our lunch box or paper sack. And certainly, we would prefer it over carrot and celery sticks, or even home-made cookies. So, now that Twinkies have reach 82 years of age, there must be some original Twinkies somewhere on a shelf or discarded lunch box.
Twinkie optimists hope that the company and the union will reach an agreement, saving the company and its treasured franchise. Or maybe an outside investor, like Donald Trump will come along, though he would fit the “Ding Dong” product much better. Ding Dongs are another unhealthy snack cake made by Hostess. The Twinkies name is too well-known to die this type of death. Long live Twinkies!!