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Twinkie, Twinkie, Little Star

That's right, America. The Twinkie is back! (for some reason)

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Assumed by many to be the unholy result of a secret Nazi project codenamed either Twinkilnauss or Angelfoodensch, the Twinkie has been a staple of American households for decades. Created in 1930, Twinkies were a way to utilize the angel food baking machines made seasonally dormant when strawberries weren’t in season. Instead of filling them with fruit, the cakes were filled with banana-flavored cream, put onto shelves and became an instant success. Due to the WWII rationing of bananas  (which, apparently, was a thing), the cream filling inside Twinkies was given the vanilla-flavor that we know today. So, there you go, a brief history of Twinkies. But nowhere in that Cliff Notes version do we get an answer to the question: Why are Twinkies so popular?
Yes, it is safe to assume that this Twinkie incarnation didn't sell well in the segregated South.

Yes, it is safe to assume that this Twinkie incarnation didn't sell well in the segregated South.

Today, they are deep fried, baked into casserole dishes for elaborate desserts and

coveted by kids all over. Twinkies are considered as much a part of America as high fructose corn syrup and applie-flavored fruit pies. After Hostess entered into bankruptcy, the inevitable disappearance of Twinkies was seen by many as the end of an era, a sign that an economic apocalypse had indeed begun.

Now, the recent return of the Twinkies to grocery store shelves was seen as the second coming of a corn syrup-laden messiah, a chance to wrap one’s hands around all of the nostalgia and Americana that could be crammed into a tiny snack cake.

What about Twinkies makes them so popular, though?

They aren’t particularly tasty (unless ‘stale’ is a flavor), they have a longer list of ingredients than napalm and god help anyone who drops even the smallest piece onto an article of clothing because it will leave a near transluscent stain that can only be removed by an industrial kiln and a little witchcraft.

Is it mascot Twinkie the Kid? The anthropomorphic Twinkie whose mission in life is to sell out his own kind? Is a self-loathing Twinkie really the best mascot to sell cake to kids?

"Hi kids! Twinkie the Kid here to remind you to eat my family. Mmm, that's good baby brother..."

“Hi kids! Twinkie the Kid here to remind you to eat my family. Mmm, that’s good baby brother…”

Honestly, I have no idea why Twinkies are popular. What exactly are we welcoming back into the folds of our culture?

Well, let’s take a look…

A single Twinkie has 39 active ingredients (although, to be fair, only 11 of those are active ingredients, the rest are really lethargic and possibly have drug problems).

Included in these 39 ingredients:

– Artificial vanilla flavoring derived from petroleum (harmless, all natural petroleum. Imagine, if you will, the Keystone Pipeline bringing all of that vanilla cream directly to your belly!)

– Corn dextrin (Wait a sec? Is that the same corn dextrin that makes the delicious glue on envelope seals? It sure is!)

– Cellulose gum helps to create the filling’s sheen (it is also an active ingredient in jet fuel, which explains why you got hungry the last time to passed a plane crash)

– Other mouth watering ingredients include: Polysorbate 60 (sweet, sweet, Polysorbate), Hydrogenated Shortening (that’s the stuff…), Yellow #5 (whoa mama!) and Red 40 (because anyone using Red 39  is an a-hole!)

Of course, no Twinkie would be complete without the 3 C’s, that ol’ fashioned American Trifecta: corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup and, you betcha, corn syrup solids.

"So, does anyone have any idea how to dispose of all of these chemicals? Professor Twinkie, what are your thoughts?"

“So, does anyone have any idea how to dispose of all of these chemicals? Professor Twinkie, what are your thoughts?”

Mmmm. Just reading those ingredients off will make anyone drool like a Pavlovian dog.

Once again, Twinkies are being orally embraced by the general public and Hostess has hyped its return with a marketing campaign steeped in an overblown sense of self-importance. “The sweetest comeback in the history of EVER!”

Again, why? Why do we welcome back Twinkies like some war hero who’d been presumed dead? “Private Twinkie, for singlehandedly regaining control of Fort Crapfood and defeating the waistline of Hermann Goering, we salute you!”

Are we really welcoming back the actual Twinkies or are we celebrating the return of the nostalgia that the Twinkie brings with it? After all, ads for Twinkies were placed into comic books where they were masked as storylines. The Penguin cripples Gotham by hoarding the city’s Twinkie supply? Hulk is able to regain his ability to crush enemies thanks to his devouring of Hostess treats? Christopher Nolan plots they are not, but they ingratiated themselves to our tinier selves because there were our heroes eating the same crap we did. Flash, Hulk, Iron Man, every superhero now drew back the curtain on the source of their superpowers: Polysorbate 60 and Corn Dextrin!!

Twinkies, the perfect plot point for all Batman vs. Kidnapping Mummy storylines.

Twinkies, the perfect plot point for all Batman vs. Kidnapping Mummy storylines.

So, welcome back, Twinkies!

Personally, I don’t get what all of the hoopla (or even hubbub) is about. I’ve never been a fan of Twinkies. Still, I don’t want to be rude, so I will wish them a friendly welcome.

And welcome back to the love handles that will no doubt be spreading out from Batman’s body suit.

—–

Related L.A.P. posts on Twinkies:

Omawarisan on Twinkies
Justin Gawal on Twinkies
BrainRants on Twinkies
Monk Monkey on Twinkies
Christopher De Voss on Twinkies
Chowderhead on Twinkies
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About calahan (6 Articles)
A writer who is living the dream. It's unclear whose dream it is, though. Stay tuned.

55 Comments on Twinkie, Twinkie, Little Star

  1. The list of ingredients sound so appetizing!

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  2. wonderful you are right those ingredients are to die for and these Twinkies have everything which can with help of a little fire send one all out in outer space or at least a trip round the world.

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  3. Mmmmm….napalm. Double mmmmmmm….jet fuel. And don’t you just love being a glue eater? That’s as comforting as the mass medication of city water called fluoridation coupled with fluoride in tooth paste, mouth wash and in some cases…salt. Yummy.

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    • Nestle does produce a large amount of bottle water, actually, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a little dessert-y goodness finds its way into every bottle of Pure Life Water.

      Like

  4. I wonder if Heloise knows that hint about the industrial kiln and a little witchcraft.

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  5. I’m glad someone else remembered the comics. I secretly loved them.

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  6. I think I will pass on the 3 C’s, as it seems I would be better off eating an entire tub of Crisco with a Vaseline chaser.

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  7. Reblogged this on B.L.O.G. and commented:

    I was asked to contribute to a new site. I said yes only because I thought there would be prizes and snacks.

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  8. I think I ate a Twinkie once. I was probably 8. I always preferred a Ho-Ho. (I’ve set you up for a joke at my expense. You’re welcome.)

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  9. Cellulose gum is an active ingredient in jet fuel.

    Did you know that ordinary table salt contains CHLORINE, which is also a totally POISONOUS gas? Better not have any of that, or in fact, anything with salt in. Good luck with that.

    Like

  10. javaj240 // August 7, 2013 at 5:40 pm //

    I’d just like to know how I missed the chocolate ones… I remember the “Chocodile” — that was a Twinkie covered in ring-ding coating (I wouldn’t want to insult bakers the world over by calling it a “ganache”), but an actual, real-life, dyed-in-the-wool CHOCOLATE Twinkie? I feel cheated.

    Like

    • I didn’t know they existed, either. Since both ignorance and chocolate are considered blissful, I don’t know how to feel about it.

      Like

  11. What the hell happened to those devil’s food ones?! I thought we had ended flavor prejudice.

    I have a dream…

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  12. Corn is my favorite of the various dextrins.

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  13. Guess my phone is less good for comments than other operations… anyway, I praised you highly on the high quality of your deconstruction of Twinkies. I clearly need to order an expander set of words.

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  14. I’m not sure if I was deprived or extremely fortunate, but I’ve never actually eaten a Twinkie. I may have had a bite of one at some point, but the corn syrup concoction probably burned my trachea into forbidding another taste. I’m glad to know that the ingredients listed do not include (m)any in my “must haves.” I live to see another Twinkie-less day.

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  15. I always thought they had banana flavored filling. Yuck, but almost a natural.

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  16. Mmm… Stale…
    I learned so much from your post. Thank you for twinkiefying my brain – if you sliced open my head I’d look just like a devil’s food cake twinkie I reckon. Also dead.

    Like

  17. Canadians had twinkies straight through our outage.
    I smell conspiracy.
    And napalm.

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  18. Yum..petroleum… a dream come true….

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  19. I miss those Hostess comic ads…

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  20. Do you remember many many years ago, SPY magazine did a piece about Twinkies and they tried to destroy Twinkies using several different methods? They microwaved them, blow-torched them, dropped them from 30 floors up, etc. Those things are indestructible, basically. For me that’s part of their charm. I don’t particularly care for the taste (although the chocolate coated ones, the Chocodiles, were pretty good), but I was sad when I learned they were being discontinued. It’s like discontinuing part of America, gosh darnit.

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  21. 39 ingredients? Beats out Dr. Pepper by a landslide! Impressive. Wait… that’s flavors, not ingredients. But then again, I am sure most ingredients have their own flavor, so kind of the same thing?

    I have never had a Twinkie. Ever.

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    • If they could, your intestines would burst from your body if only to say, “Thank you, Becca. Thank you for not making us suffer a Twinkie.”

      Like

  22. Gross and nostalgic at the same time. Sounds like high school.

    Like

  23. Glad you included the old comic book ad. My literary sensibilities have been informed almost entirely from comic books, so I’ve long labored under the delusion that Hostess Snacks (including, but certainly not limited to, Twinkies) have the power to completely undermine a criminal’s priorities.

    Like

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