In the News: What About the Twinkie?

This wouldn’t be a proper food commentary blog without some mention of Hostess Brands filing for bankruptcy protection this week and the hoopla that ensued over the uncertain future of the Twinkie. Love ’em or hate ’em, the iconic yellow, cream-filled sponge cake tube is pretty much engrained in the American childhood experience, which even I can appreciate, despite growing up Canadian.

They may not be around for much longer, but there’s no doubt they’ll live on forever beyond supermarket shelves. How immortal is the Twinkie? Let me count the (fairly obvious) ways:

1) It has its own urban legend. Because, you know, Twinkies can survive a nuclear holocaust and never go bad. (Not true, by the way.)

2) It’s mentioned in a slew of movies and TV shows, like Ghostbusters and Wall-E, which, incidentally, only reinforces the idea that Twinkies can last 700 years.

Wall-E's pet cockroach enjoys a Twinkie in 2805. Via DenofGeek.com

3) It’s the nickname of the Minnesota Twins, who will be around forever. (I confirmed this with Dr. J, who is a die-hard Twins fan.)

4) It was a legit legal defense in San Francisco. (“The Twinkies made me do it!”)

5) It’s a racial slur referring to an Asian American who’s “yellow on the outside but white on the inside.” (Guilty as charged. I’ve also used the term “banana” to describe my Asian-American identity in jest.) But did you also know it’s a pejorative used by American Indians to describe a Caucasian who claim to be American Indian without strong blood ties to a tribe? I learned something new today.

6) There’s a pretty famous book and website dedicated to the Twinkie and raises all sorts of nasty questions about what really goes into our processed foods. I think I’m gonna have to add “Twinkie Deconstructed” to my Goodreads to-read list.

6) It’s a name that some people use for their babies. And I’m not talking about fur babies. Like, human ones. No joke. I actually knew a girl in college named Twinkie, and a cursory Google search tells me that other people share the same moniker.

I have a feeling I’ve only skimmed the surface of the full scope of Twinkian influence, but as the Hostess drama continues to unfold, we’ll be hearing more about this legendary snack cake as people continue to wonder, just as Bill Murray did, ‘What about the Twinkie?”

In the meantime, here are some cute Twinkie cupcakes inspired by the Minions in Despicable Me, via The Cupcake Blog. Cute characters in a so-so movie, but enjoyable all the same. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Twinkie Minion cupcakes, via TheCupcakeBlog.com

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Filed under Food, in the news, Random musings

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