Friday, November 16, 2012

Goodbye Hostess

In grade school Twinkies were the trading gold of the school yard.  Everyone would pull out the lunches lovingly packed by parents and then the elementary version of the stock exchange would begin. A Twinkie could get you anything from just about any school lunch.  Chocolate puddings, followed by other flavor puddings and then chips were usually next in line.  If you wanted a Twinkie for a Chocolate pudding usually there would need to be a sticker or a "best friendmanship" thrown in to sweeten the deal.  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were sometimes good items to trade although in grade school I had an aversion to peanut butter and found that my cream cheese and jelly sandwiches held little trading value.  It was okay with me since they were also usually made with my Dad's amazing homemade sourdough and to me that was worth way more than a Twinkie (but shh, don't tell those other kids with their Wonderbread (also made by Hostess) PB&J's).  Most of my lunches held almost zero trade-ability.  I begged my Mom for Lunchables to no avail but instead got carrots and celery, and cheese wrapped in ham.  I actually liked the foods my Mom packed but it was a matter of status if you arrived with junk food in a cool lunch pail you were clearly superior to the kids with healthy things in paper bags.  You could trade for fickle friends and ice cream bars how can that be unappealing to a kid?  I don't recall eating a Twinkie or a Ho-Ho as a child but the allure was amazing. I probably managed to get one or two at summer camp but the having is not nearly as memorable as the wanting.

Last year I had a friend doing a performance piece that involved eating Twinkies on stage and once it was done he handed out the extras backstage.  The smell of the yellow cake was intoxicating and somehow my grade school brain was activated to expect something spectacular.  I opened the crinkled plastic and took a bite.  I immediately had the most visceral response to the acridly sweet bite of sugar cake I think I've ever had.  Grateful that I opened the package without anyone else in the room, I spit it out.
 "Oh God!  Why was this ever so popular?!"  Clearly my tastes are still uncool...

Now Hostess sputters out of existence we will find just how long a Twinkie's shelf life is... shelves are being emptied and ebay is suddenly the coolest kid on the playground.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yay! It's good to know your deprivation due to something in our house called 'standards' was worthwhile. I don't plan to start buying Hostess cakes at this point either! (There goes Christmas.) Your Grandma used to put cupcakes in my lunchbox, but the big challenge was getting the squiggle off--rather like a one-piece apple peel or unscrewing an Oreo wsithout messing up the insides!