Twinkies

by curiousmiscellany

It seems a case of bad timing—no, very bad timing—that just when marijuana is becoming legalized in certain states, Twinkies are on the brink of extinction. Yes, these golden American snack cakes may indeed take their last bow due to the closure of Hostess Brands Inc., eighty-two years after their inception…[Cue time travel fog] It is 1930, the beginning of the Great Depression. James A. Dewar is working as a manager at the Continental Baking Company and looking for ways to streamline the company’s production. He comes up with the idea of taking the oblong pans used for the strawberry shortbread, which is only made during the summer months when strawberries are fresh, and using them for a new creation: a sponge cake filled with banana cream, or the first-ever Twinkie. (Dewar came up with the name, by the way, after seeing a billboard for “Twinkle Toe Shoes” — perhaps this also explains why Twinkies always come in a pair.) With World War II, came rationing, and with rationing, went the bananas for the banana cream, though it was then that Twinkies acquired their vanilla filling. And somewhere in the 1950s, during the apotheosis of processed foods, Twinkies gained a whole lot of other, mostly chemical ingredients, giving them the reputation of being practically imperishable. In the Disney film WALL-E, Twinkies are even found still perfectly intact hundreds of years after Earth is deemed toxic to pretty much all organic forms of life. If Twinkies really do become extinct, and if their shelf life really is only ten days like Hostess maintains, they will still live on in the memories of many as being one of the most iconic forms of American junk food of the Twentieth Century.

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