Chapter 49: Hostess Twinkies–RIP

Today, November 16, 2012 Hostess Twinkies died. Probably from hardening of the arteries.

The CEO blamed the union. The union laughed at the CEO’s raise despite the death of the company–a 300% increase. Also headed down the toilet: Wonder Bread–the worst bread in the history of breaddom.

“Enriched wheat flour, sugar, corn syrup, niacin, water, high fructose corn syrup, vegetable and/or animal shortening – containing one or more of partially hydrogenated soybeans, cottonsead and canola oil, and beef fat, dextrose, whole eggs, modified corn starch, cellulose gum, whey, leavenings (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), salt, cornstarch, corn flour, corn syrup, solids, mono and diglycerides, soy lecithin, polysorbate 60, dextrin, calcium caseinate, sodium stearoyl, lactylate, wheat gluten, calcium sulphate, natural and artificial flavors, caramel color, yellow #5, red #40.”

“A single Twinkie contains 2.5 grams of saturated fat, representing 13% of the recommended daily intake of saturated fat based on a 2,000 calorie diet.” There are two in a package!!!!

Did you Twinkies lovers know that?

Twinkie and Wonder Bread aficionados are mourning on Facebook, on Twitter, as if George Clooney died.

“Why do banks get a bailout and Hostess doesn’t? They’ve both been accused of causing inflation.”

“What?!? Noooo! We only eat Wonder Bread!!” said one Facebook friend.

“It’s too weird – marijuana is legalized and Twinkies disappear, all in the same month!!! (said my wife)

ESPN’s Rachel Nichols calls it the “Snackopocalypse.”

My favorite is “Can’t tweet. Hoarding Twinkies!”

Twinkies were my cousin Gene’s favorite junk food, at least as a kid. It was a hometown food, baked in Schiller Park, Illinois. Created by James Alexander Dewar (definitely not an Italian). We scoured the neighborhood for empty bottles, each worth 2 cents, so Gene could buy Twinkies and I could get Red Hots. I never liked Twinkies! I hated Wonder Bread! Hostess Cupcakes were tolerable–barely.

I first remember eating Wonder Bread in military school–a punishment almost worse than my exile from the neighborhood. There was no Gonnella Italian bread there. No sopressata! No salsiccia of any kind! It was my gastronomic entry into the Anglo-Saxon world.

I never saw Twinkies nor Wonder Bread sold in Italy–nor SPAM nor Lunchables. With a pasticceria or a panetteria on most street corners, no Italian in his or her right mind would ever eat Twinkies or Wonder Bread. Even after 50 years in America, Cesare never ate one, nor did Giuseppina.

In the defense of Twinkies, I’m somewhat sad because the Twinkie became an iconic symbol–linguistically.

“The Mamaluke is a fuckin’ ‘Twinkie‘!” Gene would say before the advent of “whimpy.”

Then, there was the ‘Twinkie Defense’, in a vain attempt to avoid a murder conviction.

Gene is laughing his ass off –totally unsympathetic to Twinkie lovers on Earth, who will soon be bereft forever of Twinkies.  He’s already occupying a booth in heaven–equipped by God with unlimited free Twinkies. “Our God is an awesome God,” he’s singing and laughing.

If Gene were still here, we would be would hoarding Twinkies to resell them on eBay six months later, stale as hell–laughing our asses off.

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About growingupcalabrese

Professor of French and Italian at San Diego State University
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