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Twinkie Tales | Rio Blanco Herald Times | Serving Meeker, Rangely, Dinosaur & Northwest Colorado

Americans love their comfort food. Even with the current health food and kale fad, sugary snacks have become popular again. This is the first time I’ve had a research topic I could really get my teeth into – the legendary Twinkie. The increase in Twinkie sales has been attributed to people staying home during the COVID lockdowns. We fell back on stress suppressants like watching cartoons and eating Twinkies without witnesses.

At a low point in its 92-year history, the Twinkie was discontinued in the US market. For four long years (2012-2016), we had to travel to Canada to buy Twinkies. Twinkies were still manufactured under license in Montreal by Grupo Bimbo Vachon. I wonder if there are French Canadian smugglers from Twinkie? Hostess’ announcement that the bankrupt factory would close caused widespread panic. People started hoarding Twinkies. The products disappeared from the shelves and were offered on eBay and Craigslist at exorbitant prices. Some of these hoarded Twinkies ended up in a basement for eight years. Food and Wine magazine published an article about these expired Twinkies. The paper inspired two scientists at West Virginia University to acquire them for analysis. Tests on one showed that the house mold Cladosporium was growing there. The other Twinkie had shrunk and showed no active spores. The report’s conclusion, “If you find 8-year-old baked goods in your basement, examine them carefully under bright lights before eating them, I don’t care how hungry you are!” Another great example of our tax money at work. My other comment is, why is a fancy food magazine writing about Twinkies?

The original Twinkie was made in 1930 and had a two day shelf life. Of course, we’ve all heard the urban legend of the teacher who had a wrapped Twinkie above his blackboard for decades. He claimed it was still edible. I don’t know what subject he taught, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t home economics. There is even a book called “Twinkie, Deconstructed”. There are 37 ingredients in today’s Twinkie, including iron, vitamin B and B2. Could someone explain why a snack voted by Time Magazine as one of America’s Top 10 Unhealthy Foods with 290 calories would bother adding vitamins? Twinkie inventor James Dewar was trying to think of another use for a machine that made cupcakes for strawberry shortcakes. The machine sat idle for months when the strawberries were out of season. He adapted the machine to produce tube cakes which were then filled with banana cream. When World War II arrived with shortages of bananas, the filling was replaced with a “creamy filling”. Twinkies were made with vanilla cream, banana, tropical cream, chocolate, chocolate/peanut butter, mixed berries, peppermint and of course pumpkin spice. There’s even a Post Twinkie cereal. Call me old fashioned. I prefer the old plain vanilla custard that I ate for research. I am however open to trying a fried Twinkie.


By ED PECK – Special at the time of the Herald

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