On Life After Twinkies

twinkies.jpghallie ephronImagine life without Twinkies? A year ago Hostess Brands went into bankruptcy. This week, in the wake of a labor strike, it sounds as if they may be winding down operations permanently.

I've never been a Twinkies fan, but I love the word. Just for example, from a Seinfeld show, Jerry describes Newman: "He's a mystery wrapped in a Twinkie." It doesn't even have to make sense to be funny.

And in Blue Man Group, the blue men watch intently as a volunteer from the audience tries to eat a Twinkie with a knife and fork. Do not ask me why this is hilarious. It just is.

And even though I may have eaten four of them in my entire life, just say the word and I can smell those sugary vapors that escape when you tear open the package. I remember what it's like to bite the yellow sponge-rubbery cushions of cake and into white filling with the resistance of shaving cream. I can feel the oleaginous residue left (for hours) on the roof of the mouth.

An entire book (Steve Ettlinger's "Twinkie Deconstructed") is devoted to analyzing its ingredients. There’s no cream in the “cream” filling and no egg in the yellow spongy cake. The book’s table of contents is the Twinkies ingredients list. Turns out sugar, corn sweeteners and corn thickeners, and petroleum figure prominently.

twsuchi.jpgTrolling the Internet, I found recipes:


Deep fried Twinkie (you have to freeze it first, then dip it in batter...)
Twinkie Sushi
Twinkie Burrito
Pigs in a Twinkie

There's a Twinkies Cookbook published Hostess. Amazon's Customers who bought this also bought "Spam: The Cookbook" and "Peeps: Recipes and Crafts...".

I also found a website with a recipe for organic vegan Twinkies. The ingredients list alone is impressive.

* 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
* 1 cup unbleached white flour
* 6 tablespoons light organic cane sugar
* 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
* 1/3 cup expeller pressed canola oil
* ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup, Grade A, dark amber
* ¾ cup vanilla soymilk or rice milk
* 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
* 2 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

* 7 ounces firm tofu, drained (simmer in water for 5 minutes)
* 4 teaspoons expeller pressed canola oil
* 2 tablespoons maple syrup, Grade A amber
* 3 tablespoons raw light agave syrup
* 6 tablespoons light organic cane sugar
* 3/4 teaspoon very finely grated lemon zest
* 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
* 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* ½ teaspoon pure coconut extract
* 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
* 1 1/2 ounces of vegan white chocolate melted
* 2 tablespoons arrowroot dissolved in 6 tablespoons soy creamer

There were over 60 comments on that recipe, but not one person had actually tried to make the recipe. One asked if you could substitute Splenda for sugar. That made me spill tea all over myself.

dfrtwinkie.jpgMaybe it's all for the best. After all, I am sad to report that a "Deep-fried Twinky & Pastrami Shop," located in a gas station in Fremont CA closed in 2010. They served a legendary bacon wrapped hot dog and Twinkies.

And maybe they're not that unhealthy. After all, Jimmy Dewar (he invented the Twinkie in 1930) bragged that he was a chain smoker and that he would enjoy at least three Twinkies with a glass of milk before bedtime. He died at 88 and his obituary cited "natural causes."

A Los Angeles man who claimed he ate nothing but Twinkies and drank nothing but Cutty Sark, lived happily for seven years before being run over by a truck.

Just goes to show you.

So, will you be sorry if Twinkies and Ding Dongs go the way of the Dodo?


Originally published on Jungle Red Writers <www.jungleredwriters.com

Author Hallie Ephron (hallieephron.com) writes the kind of novels she hopes will keep readers up nights. Her latest suspense novel is Come and Find Me.