Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

DIE, TWINKIE - DIE!

I will confess to no small amount of astonishment when I read that Hostess Brands was about to go belly-up, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the second time in eight years.

Hostess! The evil geniuses responsible for so many childhood delights (and guilty pleasures of adulthood, at least for some): Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Sno-Balls, et alia. Who is there among us that did not devour their crap in those halcyon Snot-Nose Years?

In my younger days, I enjoyed the occasional Twinkie, but my especial love and admiration was reserved for the Hostess Creme-Filled Cup Cake, a dense chocolatey plug of a cupcake with a shot of sweet vanilla-flavored filling. The best part, of course, was the layer of icing, an eighth-inch-thick encrustation of semi-hardened chocolate goop with a little white squiggle down the centerline by way of decoration. Eating a Hostess Cup Cake was a little like eating an Oreo sandwich cookie: one had to decide upon the specific technique to be employed. Peel the icing off and eat it first? Eat it last? Or just shove the whole fucking thing into your pie-hole in one ecstatic burst of cakey gluttony?

Twinkies, by comparison, were boring. A log of sponge cake with that selfsame vanilloid filling... but no icing or other external attention-getting devices. A purist might argue that this was the Hostess formula reduced to its simplest form: Sweet cake and filling. Of course, it’s hard to use the term “purist” in the context of a product that is composed mainly of artificial ingredients.

And then there was the infamous Sno-Ball.

Imagine, if you will, a Hostess Creme-Filled Cup Cake, sans icing. Shave the top off so that it resembles a flat-bottomed dome. Now let it dry out for a few weeks or months so that the cake, rather than being moist and delectable, is dry, crumbly. Enrobe it in a quarter-inch-thick layer of marshmallow and encrust the whole affair with coconut. This is a Sno-Ball.

The best thing to do with a Sno-Ball would be to chuck it at one’s playmates, as one would do with its namesake. Kids with masochistic tendencies would peel the marshmallow layer off and eat it, an experience not unlike eating a Firestone tire. A sweet Firestone tire. Only the most masochistic would dare eat the dried-out blob of cake. Feh.

Hostess has its competitors in the Fattening Crap department. In New York, there was Drake’s Cakes, makers of an excellent little coffee cake as well as the beloved Devil Dog (think of a hot dog with devil’s food cake in lieu of the bun, vanilla creme filling in lieu of the frankfurter sausage). In Philadelphia, there was Tastykake. And down South, Little Debbie.

Believe it or not, I have never tasted of the Tastykake. And I have no plans to do so... for I have moved on.

If I am gonna eat crap, I will make it myself - and it will be a damn sight better than anything Hostess ever could make.

I suspect that reports of the Twinkie’s impending demise are premature. The bottomless American desire for HFCS-sweetened, preservative-laden baked goods cannot and will not be denied. And if the worst should come to pass, well, there’s always the Tokyo Banana.

What was your favorite Hostess treat when you were a kid? And do you still indulge? C’mon, now - be honest.

[Tip o’ th’ Elisson fedora to Madeline Begun Kane for alerting me to this earth-shattering development!]

Update: Here followeth an e-mail from Houston Steve, received on January 26 and quoted verbatim for your enjoyment and delectation...

You want to know what sucks?

Well, I’ll tell you. The vending machine in my office has Mrs. Freshly’s Chocolate Cupcakes (marked U/D, by the way). They look suspiciously like Hostess Cupcakes, and (i) I’m in a bad mood and (ii) I haven’t had a Hostess Cupcake in years, so I spring 80 cents for them. Here’s the kicker... I figured that they would taste like a disgusting sugar cube, that my fond memories of their rich chocolaty goodness were all bullshit, and I’d be able to move on... but no, dammit! The fucking things were just as fucking good as I fucking remembered them. Now what am I supposed to do? There’s two more fucking packages in the fucking machine. FUCK!

9 comments:

El Capitan said...

I really have no desire to ingest a Twinkie these days.

On the other hand, If I still had a grandmother, I'd sell her to the Arabs for a case of Chocodiles, the insanely hard-to-find Hostess treat.

I'd consider a long-term lease on Granny for a case of the old-style Ding Dongs in the aluminum foil wrapper. They ain't been the same since they got wrapped in plastic.

Neither has Granny...

Elisson said...

Thanks, Cappy. I just drenched the monitor with coffee and peed my pants at the same time.

IIRC, in certain markets, Hostess had to call their Ding Dongs "King Dons." This is because Drake's used to sell an almost identical product called "Ring Dings" - and they were there first.

I do not recall the Chocodile. I must have been depraved. Er, ahhh... deprived.

Wilma said...

El Capitan, they have never stopped wrapping ding-dongs in foil out here. I currently have a box of them in my pantry (picked out by 12-year old son, I don't eat them LOL) and they are definitely foil-wrapped. I can tell you though, that the filling they use in their stuff is not the same thick, wonderful, unidentifiable crap they used when we were kids. That stuff would have stood on its own but the stuff they use now is soupy and disgusting. Incidentally, husband also wishes for the return of the Chocodile. He was just saying so to son yesterday. I don't think they're worth leasing out your granny for though. :)

Elisson said...

A ding dong wrapped in foil... now, there's an image I need to scrub outta my brain cells ASAP!

Who the hell calls a Baked Good by a child's name for a male body part, anyway? And what sort of customers are they trying to attract?

Yabu said...

Y'all don't get all up and down dogging my Twinkies. Twinkies rock. Them's fighting words. I like me some chocolate cupcakes, but a Twinkie had a taste of its own. I've also had some experience with a Sno-Ball. Good stuff...lay off the Twinkie...will ya, or I'll have to slink on down there in the middle of the night and set you straight. Mature Twinkie Run, if you will.

Ease back a little...they're all GOOD!

I am experienced...I've made Twinkie runs in the past, and I can make one again...fair warning.

Elisson said...

Yabu, I was gonna restrain myself from using the "you are what you eat" line somewhere in this post, but, well, when someone pitches you a meatball right over the center of the plate, are you gonna swing for the fences or what? I ask you.

Having said that, I'll tell you that I loved Twinkies as a kid - chemicals and all. But it was those cupcakes with that asphalt-like layer of icing that were my go-to Fat Ass Snack.

Harper said...

Hostess owns Drake's and has many identical or quite similar products with different names. They, too, might go down with the ship.

As a kid I liked the coconut covered raspberry Zingers. Cloyingly sweet and not at all raspberry flavored when I recently bought a package for old time's sake.

I remember an uncle's birthday cake one year was a 'bikini cake' and Sno-Balls were used under the frosting, to fill the top of the bikini. That layer of marshmallow added a realistic sponginess to the cake-boobs.

Anonymous said...

ding dongs or cup cakes? never could make up my mind.

diamond dave said...

Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Cupcakes, and Zingers (are those Hostess?). I'll still do 'em all, but only in moderation and as occasional indulgences.