Monday, December 10, 2012

I Interrupt this Holiday Season to talk about . . . Twinkies

What is it about Twinkies?

Seems like everyone has gone crazy over Twinkies . . . now that they can’t get them anymore. Even in the past week, long after I thought that Twinkie fever and mourning over Hostess’ demise would have died down, I saw a piece on the news about some Chicago dive, Baby’s Cheesecake and Lemonade, that actually bought up the last of the Twinkies—10,000 of the sweet, gooey cakes—and was giving them away for FREE.

When a reporter asked the owner if it was worth the investment, he replied, “Every penny. It brought you in, didn’t it?”

Smart man. Growing his business on the back of Hostess.

Personally, I don’t get it. I am not sure I’ve even bought ten Twinkies in my lifetime, let alone ten thousand.

But let me tell you, even though I probably played a small part in throwing Hostess under the bus—I bought Twinkies exactly twice—Twinkies and I have a history.

The first time I bought Twinkies was when I was pregnant with my second daughter. I knew she was a girl even before the ultrasound confirmed it because I craved sugar like nothing else. With my first daughter I craved sugar, too—Dove ice cream bars that time—so I just knew she had to be a girl the second time around as well.

With my second, I craved Twinkies. Usually my “craving” consisted of a fleeting thought every day. “Hmmmm, I haven’t had a Twinkie since I was a little girl. I wonder if they’re still good.” “Gee, a Twinkie sure sounds good right about now.” “O.K., I think I just have to have a Twinkie before this pregnancy ends.”

Finally, one day, that small craving became a full-blown obsession. I was at work, teaching young minds, pretending to be interested in modifiers and parallel sentences. But all the while I kept thinking, “Twinkies. Must. Have. Twinkies.”

My students never knew.

I hope.

After work, I drove as fast as I could to the Jewel. I parked my car. I ran as quickly as my chubby ankles would allow, straight into the store. And there I stood, in the middle of the store in the ready position, just like a football player on the line of scrimmage . . . only I was wearing a huge maternity tent dress.

I was like a mad woman.

I finally grabbed a checkout girl by the shoulders, looked deep into her eyes, and screamed, “Where are the Twinkies?!”

It wasn’t pretty. But she directed me to aisle 3.

I quickly purchased the beloved gems—No, I don’t need a bag, thank you—and I ran to the car. I opened the cellophane. No, I tore the cellophane, and gobbled those Twinkies like a starving person who hadn’t eaten in a month.

Thirty seconds of glory, it was.

Worth every calorie. And every ounce of humiliation.

My second encounter with Twinkies actually took place sometime during Kate’s first grade year. She must have heard kids talking at lunch, filed away the information for later, and came home just bursting to ask me a question.

“Mom, what’s a Twinkie?” I think she might have been hopping from one foot to another.

Seriously? That was what she couldn’t wait to ask me? I just had to laugh. Out loud.

And then I asked her to repeat the question.

“What’s a Twinkie?”

Because that was the moment when I realized that I had succeeded as a mom. You see, it took six years—SIX YEARS!!—before my daughter even knew that such a thing existed.

Sure, she had had McDonald’s fries before she turned two, and Teddy Grahams had pretty much become a food group in our home, but my darling six year old didn’t even know what a Twinkie was.

My first Twinkie incident might have been my most humiliating, but the second became one of my proudest Mommy Moments.

And because my poor daughter had been so deprived for six long years (talk about a death sentence!), I bought the child a box of Twinkies on my next trip to the Jewel.

She carefully opened the cellophane, took one long look at the soft yellow cake with its three holes poked in the bottom, and said, “Is this all it is?”

She ate it, satisfied that she had at least taken a stab at the American cultural icon. But then a funny thing happened—the box I bought for her sat . . . and sat . . . and sat in the pantry until one day I finally threw the Twinkies out.

I guess my girl preferred my homemade treats over the ones wrapped in plastic.

My second proudest Mommy Moment.

Now tell me . . . what do YOU think about Twinkies? What’s your favorite Hostess treat? (Mine is the Suzy Q, and I will miss her.)



  1. I will own up to loving Twinkies. And Hostess cupcakes. Hostess had the mostest, in my opinion. But, when I was a child, I liked childish things. Haha. I really haven't had anything Hostess for 20 or 30 years? But I did love me a Twinkie.

  2. When I was in grade school, at Immaculate Conception School, we didn't have hot lunches. The students either brought sack lunches or went home for lunch. I lived close enough to go home for lunch each day. I ate a home cooked luch followed by a Twinkie every day. I don't think I've had a Twinkie since grade school.

  3. I don't think we ever had Hostess anything, the years we did live in the States. But my mom loved maple bars. Probably as much sugar, but less chemicals.

    This was a fun and funny read, Shelly.


  4. Fun!I know that I ate them occasionally as a kid but have not since then. Craig bought a box last week (he would rather eat store bought cookies and treats and candy than homemade goodies--sad face--which means I eat the homemade stuff). Anna tried one and told me "The inside stuff is good but that yellow stuff is nasty." Guess we've never had them in the house either!