Tuesday 06 Dec 2016

Twinkie is Back
Jennifer Flaten

All hail the return of the Twinkie. Yes, not all is lost snack food fans Hostess is reviving the Twinkie. I hope this news doesn’t cause wide scale rioting and looting. Soon those indestructible little snack cakes will be back on the shelves along with two of Twinkies’ sidekicks Ho-Ho and Ding-Dong.

Can I just say; Ho-Ho and Ding-Dong have to be the worst snack food names in the history of snack food.

Actually, I hardly noticed the demise of the Twinkie, as my budget doesn’t afford me brand name snack cakes like Hostess. Alas, I have to snack on knock off snack cakes like Twinkles and Coconut Mounds-the Sno-ball’s lesser-known cousin.

Caution-I am now launching into a story from my childhood. As a little kid, I lived with my grandparents, who morally opposed store bought snacks. Instead, we had old-fashioned homemade treats like prune cake and stewed rhubarb. I would just like to say that no amount of ice cream could make stewed rhubarb palatable for a child.

What I wouldn't do for another Ho-Ho; the name means happy-happy in some Chinese dialects. In case you didn’t know, serving prune cake at your birthday party wouldn’t make you popular. I kid. I didn’t have a prune cake for my birthday; I had a Jiffy cake.

Jiffy cake is a boxed cake mix, similar to other brand name cake mixes in that it requires you to mix it up and bake it. After that, its similarity to cake ends.

It was my Grandma’s idea of a compromise. I wanted a cool store bought cake and my Grandma didn’t to spend the money on a store bought cake. Since her repertoire of homemade cakes heavily favored those made with dried fruits, I cut my losses and agreed to a Jiffy cake.

What it lacked in taste it more than made up for in affordability. Besides, I was eight and I loved sweets. I would have eaten frosted cardboard. 

When I was little the holy grail-at least for me-of snack food was the Hostess fruit pie Why, I fell in love with that greasy little stomach bomb instead of the Zinger I will never know.

Anyway, I would occasionally badger my Grandmother into letting me buy a single snack cake at the grocery store. Even though I would spend twenty minutes in front of the Hostess display weighing my options I would always choose the fruit pie.

The fact that an eight-year-old child would choose a leaden pastry filled with gummy fruit finished with a dry sickly sweet glaze proves the power of advertising. I blame my unholy love of fruit pies on Saturday morning cartoons. Damn that Twinkie the Kid.

My grandma, believing that it was just like one of her wholesome homemade apple pies let me buy them. It helped that my Grandpa had something of a sweet tooth himself and would always tell my Grandma to let me have the fruit pie. He had an ulterior motive he wanted my pie. He would tell how it was my duty to share the fruit pie with him; somehow, he always ended up with the bigger half.

Of course, he’s the man who convinced me to look at some non-existent wild life outside our dining room window and then proceeded to filch my half-eaten cake from my plate. For the record, he denied doing it and insisted that I’d already eaten all my cake.

Now, you know why never, ever leave my cupcakes unattended.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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