Happy Birthday, Twinkies!

  1. Twinkies to celebrate birthday No. 75

    I love these things! To bite into one evokes memories of an afterschool treat, or a school lunch of sandwich, fruit, pretzels or chips, and Twinkie or some equally delightful Hostess treat. Of carrying a tin lunchbox- in different years, I remember having a Scotch plaid model (I was a big Family Affair fan, and that's what Buffy carried), a Josie and the Pussycats design, and best of all, my very groovy Partridge Family box (I only wish I'd saved it. Turns out that they're worth a bit of money now!). Is it just me, or are the plastic boxes just not as much fun? Especially since most kids take the very practical, disposable juice boxes and few kids arrive with a thermos of milk, like we did? (Some of us, anyway, lol! I keep forgetting that not everyone is as old as me). I haven't had a Twinkie for years.


    By Candy Sagon The Washington Post
    April 27, 2005

    C'mon, admit it. You eat Twinkies. You love 'em.

    Maybe you feel a little guilty about it, but you're not alone. Americans spent $47 million on them in the past 12 months.

    That's right. The junk food we love to ridicule.

    We joke that they're made from so many chemicals that they'll last forever. We sneer about how college students dropped one from a six-story building and it was barely dented. We shake our heads at how one guy used them as a defense in a famous murder trial.

    And yet despite it all, Hostess makes 500 million of them every year. And sales are increasing, according to Information Resources Inc., a Chicago firm that tracks retail sales and trends.

    This month, the little cream-filled, yellow spongecake celebrates its 75th birthday - and no, it's not because the same ones have been on the shelf for that long. That's just one of the urban myths surrounding the snack cakes that were invented in 1930.

    Back then, James Dewar, manager of Chicago's Continental Bakery, wanted to find another use for his company's shortcake pans. He decided to fill the small, oblong cakes with a banana-cream filling and name them after the Twinkle Toe shoes he saw advertised on a billboard in St. Louis. Banana cream-filled Twinkies - selling two for a nickel - debuted as part of the Hostess baked-goods line. During World War II, when there was a banana shortage, the filling flavor changed to vanilla.

    By the 1950s, Twinkies had become a school lunchbox staple. In 1999, President Clinton and the White House Millennium Council selected the Twinkie to be preserved in the nation's millennium time capsule, calling it an enduring American icon.

    Nutritionists scoff at them for being fatty and sugary, but that doesn't keep Hostess from turning out about 1,000 per minute. The cakes are baked for 10 minutes, then the cream filling is injected through three holes in the top, which is browned from baking. The cake is flipped before packaging, so the rounded yellow bottom becomes the top.

    The Twinkie factory is still in Chicago, which also happens to be the American city with the highest per-capita consumption of Twinkies. Chicagoans who want their Twinkies gussied up can go to Kitsch'n for Twinkie Tiramisu or to Swank Frank for deep-fried Twinkies.

    The cakes' sturdiness and longevity have led to the myth, say Hostess officials, that Twinkies have a shelf life measured in years, even decades. Roger Bennatti, a science teacher at George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill, Maine, kept one perched atop his chalkboard for 30 years. "It's rather brittle, but if you dusted it off, it's probably still edible," he told when he retired last year. In reality, Twinkies' shelf life is more like 25 days, says Theresa Cogswell, who calls herself the Twinkie guru and is vice president for research and development at Interstate Bakeries Corp., the parent company of Hostess. She admits she got a good laugh out of the 30-year-old Twinkie story but says she wouldn't want to eat one quite that old. "You can eat older Twinkies," she said, "but they're just not as good as when they're fresh. Then they're awesome."
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   Tweety
    Ugh, I hate Twinkies. Much rather have ice cream.
  4. by   mercyteapot
    Quote from Tweety
    Ugh, I hate Twinkies. Much rather have ice cream.
    Yes, but can your Mom pack you ice cream in your very groovy Partridge Family lunchbox?
  5. by   Tweety
    Quote from mercyteapot
    Yes, but can your Mom pack you ice cream in your very groovy Partridge Family lunchbox?

    I didn't get treats in my lunch. Come to think of it, I never had a lunch box, just brown bags. Eventually just started letting the school feed us. No wonder I needed therapy.
  6. by   mercyteapot
    Quote from Tweety
    I didn't get treats in my lunch. Come to think of it, I never had a lunch box, just brown bags. Eventually just started letting the school feed us. No wonder I needed therapy.
    Well, my Dad drove a bread truck for a living, and was based out of a Hostess thrift store, so we usually had a box of something to snack on. My favorite was Suzy Q's- but I ate one a few years ago and wondered what all the fuss was. Still love my Ho-Hos and Twinkies, though!!!
  7. by   VivaLasViejas
    Yecccccchhhhh........Twinkies are GROSS. I liked 'em well enough as a kid, and yes, I carried them to school in my metal plaid lunchbox along with the ubiquitous bologna sandwich and Thermos full of milk. :chuckle But you couldn't get me to touch one of those things with a 10-foot pole now......I really don't like anything Hostess puts out, it's all way too pre-fab for me. :stone
  8. by   dianah
    I LOVED the chocolate cupcakes with the chocolate frosting and the white squiggle of frosting on the top--------- AND the white creamy filling in the middle! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!
  9. by   mercyteapot
    Quote from dianah
    I LOVED the chocolate cupcakes with the chocolate frosting and the white squiggle of frosting on the top--------- AND the white creamy filling in the middle! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!
    Oh, me too! They don't taste the same anymore, though. Too sweet.
  10. by   dianah
    Have THEY changed, or have we?? (NOTHING tasted "too sweet" when I was a kid! )
  11. by   live4today
    Quote from dianah
    I LOVED the chocolate cupcakes with the chocolate frosting and the white squiggle of frosting on the top--------- AND the white creamy filling in the middle! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!
    Ohhhhhhh YEAHHHHHHH!!! That's what I like too! Yummmmm is right!
  12. by   mercyteapot
    Quote from dianah
    Have THEY changed, or have we?? (NOTHING tasted "too sweet" when I was a kid! )
    Well, it is probably my tastebuds that have changed, but I think memory plays a role, too. They're not as full of cream as I remember, and they seem smaller, too. Do you remember Snow Balls? I liked those, too, but don't even know if they're still on the market.
  13. by   Twinkie1
    Yeah baby! Let's hear it for twinkies :hatparty: I had a cool Wonder Woman Lunch box! Mom would always fill it with diet food! It's hard to bargin with a bag of carrot sticks!
    Zingers are Yummy too!
    Have a great day
    Twinkie(:
  14. by   mercyteapot
    Quote from Rntwinkie
    Yeah baby! Let's hear it for twinkies :hatparty: I had a cool Wonder Woman Lunch box! Mom would always fill it with diet food! It's hard to bargin with a bag of carrot sticks!
    Zingers are Yummy too!
    Have a great day
    Twinkie(:
    ZINGERS! I forgot about those! You're obviously younger than me. By the time Wonder Woman came on to the scene, I was in junior high or older, and not carrying a lunchbox anymore. While it was probably tough to watch your peers macking down on chips and sweets, look on the bright side; you probably had better teeth than them, lol! My son doesn't get much in the way of goodies, either. Now he's on medication that zaps his appetite and he hardly ever eats lunch. Totally beside the point, but I found it interesting when I met with his teachers a couple of weeks ago. Several of them expressed concern that he doesn't eat lunch. When I was in 7th grade, I am sure the lunchroom monitors couldn't have told my Mom whether I ate or not. They didn't know, and they didn't care. I wasn't a troublemaker, so I wasn't their concern. It felt pretty good, realizing that the teachers actually pay a little more attention to the kids now, at my son's school, anyway.

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