November 21, 2012

Goodbye Sweet Twinkie!

Freeze Frame showing a survivor of the Mayan predicted apocalypse eating a Twinkie in Chevy Silverado 2012 commercial.

The tragic fate of America’s beloved Twinkie has even made the pages of Italian newspapers.  Italians, who pride themselves on their healthy Mediterranean diet, are fascinated by the eating habits of Americans.  Italians generally eat pasta at lunch, fruit for dessert and perhaps dip some bread in olive oil, or have a small scoop of gelato for a snack.  This week an article in Italy’s mainstream daily “Corriere Della Sera” gleefully declared that Americans have eaten 500 million Twinkies per year since 1930.

AP Television’s Senior Rome Cameraman, Gianfranco Stara, gingerly approached me today and questioned me about this Twinkie affair, finally he worked his way around to his question.  Had I ever eaten one of those 500 million Twinkies made every year.  I shocked him by responding, “Perhaps more than one.”  I then had to describe my difficult childhood in which my mother sent me to school with a brown bag (no cool lunch box for poor suffering, lil’ol’ me) filled with either a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or a tuna fish sandwich and usually an apple.  By lunch time my brown bag had some greasy stain on it, from the peanut butter, or the mayonnaise with the tuna, and my whole locker smelled of peanut butter or tuna.  Sigh.  But once in a blue moon, or once in a papal death (ogni morte del papa) as they say in Italy, my mother would splurge on some snack foods – Twinkies, Ring Dings or Ding Dongs.  Ah, happiness was finding a Twinkie in my greasy brown bag.  Digging my teeth into that soft, squishy, sweet Twinkie made all my troubles melt away.  My tuna sandwich didn’t even seem so smelly when I had a Twinkie.

The eyes of all my Italian colleagues widened in amazement as I reeled off the list of snacks: Twinkies, Ring Dings and Ding Dongs.  They do sound pretty funny if you hear them like that.

Now if any of my blog readers have no clue what I am talking about, it is the news that has emerged that the Hostess company which makes Twinkies is shutting down and sending home 18,500 workers.  That is no laughing matter. Here is what the company website says:

HOSTESS BRANDS TO WIND DOWN COMPANY AFTER BCTGM UNION STRIKE CRIPPLES OPERATIONS

Irving, TX – November 16, 2012 – Hostess Brands Inc. today announced that it is winding down operations and has filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking permission to close its business and sell its assets, including its iconic brands and facilities. Bakery operations have been suspended at all plants. Delivery of products will continue and Hostess Brands retail stores will remain open for several days in order to sell already-baked products.

A Twinkie

******************************************

Some opimistic Twinkie fans believe another company will buy the brand so Twinkies won’t disappear forever.

Italian papers had a field day with the reports that it was First Lady Michelle Obama with her healthy food mission that had killed off the Twinkie and noted with glee that it might create a marital conflict if President Obama steps in to save the Twinkie.  A petition to the White House is calling on President Obama to nationalize the “Twinkie Industry.” Italians were not the only ones making jokes about it. I found this cartoon of Obama waving a Twinkie as he holds a cabinet meeting on The New Yorker webiste:

Cartoon from The New Yorker on the Twinkie

Now if one googles around a bit, you can find some very interesting information about the Twinkie. For example Steve Ettlinger, author of “Twinkie, Deconstructed,” told ABC that he thinks the pastry represents a “mastery of problems of shelf-life and distribution”.  Ettlinger established that a Twinkie is made up of 37 ingredients from natural to chemical.  One Twinkie has 150 calories and its bright yellow color comes from two chemical dyes.

Twinkies apparently have a reputation for being able to survive even an apocalypse, as seen in this hilarious commercial that Chrysler ran during the super bowl.  So maybe since we’re are now one month away from that famed Mayan date marking the end of the world, December 21, 2012, we should start stocking up on the last remaining Twinkies.

Freeze frame from Chevy Silverado 2012 commercial

Here’s the link to the commercial if you are interested in seeing it all:

Chevy Silverado Commercial 2012

I haven’t eaten a Twinkie in decades, but there is a bit of me that is sad to see the iconic American snack go.

Goodbye Twinkie…

 

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Trisha Thomas

Author: Trisha Thomas

Trisha is a TV journalist working for AP TV News in Rome. She is married to an Italian and is a Mamma of three.

6 Comments

  1. avatar

    . . the union thing is a bunch of twinkle – the Hostess company was screwed by the banksters and the vulture capitalists into taking a loan they couldn’t repay. The company was hollowed out and has now been sold to a Mexican multi-national. All part of breaking and discrediting the unions whilst making a financial killing – this is capitalism working as it is supposed to – primitive accumulation into fewer and fewer hands.

  2. avatar

    Oh, someone please save our twinkie…. Ha-ha – If it isn’t a corporation, it will be all the kids who are joking about stockpiling twinkies for future science fairs to see how long they last. My guess…probably into the next century:-)

    Seriously though, this is big news here in Texas. Irving is right here in the greater Dallas area. Lots of folks will be laid off. Ok, I tried to be serious, I just can’t…

    Lets see….twinkies, Ho-Hos, ring dings, devil dogs, apple pies, Hostess cup cakes with the squiggly line on top… Come on Trish, you can think of more that were in those brown bag lunches:-)

  3. avatar

    It’s the labor unions who are responsible for the demise of the Twinkie. I have no nostalgia for them; they are essentially a plastic food with no redeeming value.
    As a child I couldn’t understand why I could never have them. My Italian parents & grandparents considered them little better than “caca”

  4. avatar

    As much as I despise the term, this post made me “LOL” more than once. I too haven’t eaten a twinkie in decades, never really cared much for them, but the ho-ho, oh, the ho-ho…..
    I pity my unborn children.

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