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Twinkie, Twinkie, little snack

Published 10:25pm Thursday, January 19, 2012

It’s a dark era for those in love with snack foods. Hostess, the brand that makes those beloved Twinkies, is filing for bankruptcy. But according to reports, the famous maker of so many lunch box fillers will continue to churn out Twinkies, Cup Cakes and Sno Balls.

So fret not, those of you who relish the golden brown cream-filled logs, they will still be available. But in my efforts to chase my food idols like Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain, I feel I need to try to tackle why the parent company of something as iconic and synonymous with goodtime, childhood snacking manages to lose its hold on our hearts and palates.

In our efforts to become healthier people, big companies like McDonald’s and Hostess have given in to pressure to make food better for us. And there is certainly nothing wrong with that. But, sadly, in order to make things good for you, it sometimes means it will no longer be good to you.

Speaking as someone who had a Twinkie as often as possible as a child, I can certainly say the taste of the product has changed. Even without comparing the labels of yesteryear with the labels of today’s Twinkies, I can tell there is something not quite what it was. And just like my food idols, Zimmern and Bourdain, who are constantly in search of authenticity and remaining true to what has always been good, I can’t help but think that Hostess products gave in to the pressure to make their snack healthier. Frankly, the words “healthy” and “snack cake” have a real problem coexisting.

As a result, Hostess has lost its grip on good snack cakes.

Taste aside, I’ve also considered that Hostess cakes might just be a generational thing: a product whose time has simply passed. Call me sentimental, but I’d hate to see Hostess snack cakes end up in someone’s makeshift time capsule in a closet or under a bed with eight-track tapes and a Pet Rock. Twinkies, Ring-Dings, Sno Balls, and (have mercy) Suzy-Q’s have certainly done more to shape our lives than a Pet Rock.

Now, because of my own issues with moderation and, well, diabetes, I can not participate in what I’m about to suggest, but it’d be a good idea to have a Hostess cake for old times’ sake. Every one who’s ever traded their bologna and Swiss sandwich in the school cafeteria for an individually-wrapped pouch of sweet delight, have a Hostess Cup Cake. Every one who’s found a perfect companion for that cold glass of chocolate milk in a nice, thick Suzy-Q cake, engage in it once more. And, you’ll probably remember one of your oldest and longest friendships began over a pack of Twinkies. (There’s two in a pack for a reason, you know.)

So, in case Hostess can’t rekindle its love affair with America, it’s good to get that one last taste. But more importantly, look to the future where other lesser known brands of snack cakes wait in the wings to tickle our snacking bones. They are smaller brands not yet feeling the pressure of making healthier snacks. They just make good snacks.

And in the new era of snacking, when the brand name Hostess has faded from the scene, we’ll approach these new snacks with respect, and hopefully moderation. Because it’s our own overindulgence — followed by a need to control it — that makes a snack an enemy instead of a harmless treat.

Snack wisely, Suffolkians.

 

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