The changing economy has claimed more than a few victims -- such as Blockbuster Video and Woolworths -- but no, please God, not the Twinkie!
Twinkies are as American as apple pie or hedge funds. Losing Twinkies is like losing Cracker Jack or the Snickers bar. I don't eat Twinkies on a regular basis anymore but when I do, as always, they are absolutely delicious. And lets face it, that is the reason for the success of Twinkies, they are freakin' awesome! If you have never eaten a Twinkie, do it! And do it soon, because they are vanishing off the shelves. If you don't know, Twinkies are sweet, spongy cake filled with cream. And they taste even better than they sound. I don't remember my first Twinkie, so it must have been very early in my childhood. Then, years later, I fell in love with the Twinkie's cousin, Zingers. While Twinkies are sort of like pound cake with a creamy filling, Zingers, also a Hostess product, are chocolate cake with a cream filling. While there are different flavors of Zingers, like strawberry and raspberry, I crave the chocolate ones. Anyhoo, what finally killed the Twinkie?
Labor unrest. The Hostess company has shut down due to a union walkout, putting 18,500 employees out of work. Along with Twinkies and Zingers, Hostess also made Wonder Bread, King Dons, Ho Hos and the Dolly Madison brand snack foods.
Wonder Bread is the one that really hurts, after Twinkies and Zingers. When I was growing up, during the 1970s, Wonder Bread was undoubtedly the softest, spongiest, most chemical laden white bread on the market. And I loved it. Sadly, my parents were sort of into the whole hippy health food craze and my Mom usually got some kind of wheat, nut, whole grain bread that was hard and tasted like eating hay; which, combined with gravely hippy peanut butter, and some kind of blackberry jam from a monastery, made the world's worst peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Oh how I envied the Republican kids and their Wonder Bread PB and J's and bologna sandwiches and tuna salad sandwiches; while I'm cracking my teach on my hippie, freak sandwich.
Well the sad news is, the hippies have won. The uptight Whole Foods crowd, with their free-ranging this and organic that, and their bitter, almost pathological hatred of sugar, has helped put the Twinkie out of business. If I sound biased I am. I live in Los Angeles, and people in this town are more afraid to admit they eat sugar than people were afraid to admit Communist leanings during the McCarthy era. I know women who smoke cigarettes, snort cocaine and wash down fisftulls of Xanax with vodka, who actually say "I never put sugar in my body," with a dismissive snort.
It's nuts! Sugar is fine. I grew up on sugar. My whole generation did. I remember pouring spoonfuls of sugar on top of Sugar Frosted Flakes; every kid's birthday was greeted by a big sugary cake and ice cream and soda and whipped cream; sometimes I would go to the cabinet and pull out a five pound bag of sugar and grab a spoon and just chow down. Sugar and cigarette smoke was everywhere and we grew stronger because of it!
Maybe, by some miracle, the Twinkie will be saved. It should be. The Twinkie is an American icon. So much so, in fact, that the word "Twinkie" has come to be used as a slang term for a gay male bimbo. How cool is that?
I'm not giving up hope. The country that put a man on the Moon and killed Osama Bin Laden can find a way to save the Twinkie. Some snack foods are too big to fail.