Goodbye, Twinkie the Kid

We never saw it coming. There was no warning, no time to say, “You know you really ought to have a Twinkie. It’s been so long, and who knows how much longer they’ll be around.” Don’t be stupid, any of us would have said. Twinkies will be around forever. Not so. Twinkie the Kid is gone.

This, notably, is the only time “fresh” has ever been used to describe a Hostess Twinkies snack cake. Also notable is the tagline, “The fresh snacks with a snack in the middle!” Twinkies are a snack within a snack—a snack2. Isn’t this really all we ever really wanted?

“The fresh snacks with a snack in the middle!”  seems to have been Hostess Brands’ slogan for a time in the 1980s, used also by a character named Fruit Pie the Magician, a candidate for the Island of Misfit Mascots if ever there was and visibly a relative of Twinkie T.K. This circa-1980s Fruit Pie the Magician is a departure from the “pie technician”-cum-stagecoach driver of 1973, looking like a top-hatted empanada and sounding like Brian Doyle Murray.

- – - -

Twinkies were supposed to be around forever. Roaches and Twinkies were to be human civilization’s only lasting remnants in the event of nuclear holocaust. Like Lady Liberty chest-deep in a beach, we imagined Twinkies would haunt the earth’s charred husk through the next renaissance of dominant species. The radium-rich wasteland of a post-nuclear earth would seemed ideal for Twinkies, generations upon generations developing high-fructose flagella, returning to what remains of the sea to spawn a new animal kingdom.

Perhaps this is not an impossible future. Perhaps the boxes of Twinkies being bought up by crazy people wise investors on eBay will outlive us regardless, as they appreciate quietly in extreme-couponing-esque auxiliary living room shelving, or slightly more tasteful fireproof safes. If Twinkies ever had any designs on the Long Haul, this is their moment—they are officially endangered. (What this means for catch-and-release ventures I can’t say.)

It’s hard to imagine a future without Twinkies, without that benchmark of junk food that is sin and perfection in equal measure—just useless for you, but incontestable. Despite Twinkie the Kid’s rather dubious use of “fresh,” he make no real claims to foodship, nor does he need to.

And what of the children? The innumerable generations of American children who will never know the foam-like, room-temperature mouthful of a Twinkie, who will never get the chance to debate the finer points of Twinkie-eating—end-to-end like a hot dog or upside down and bottom-first, like some cruel Twinkie surgery, savoring every layer of the total cremectomy. (Or was that just me?)

But while the opportunists briefly milk the mechanically-creme-filled teat of the eBay Twinkies cash cow, the rest of us simply mourn their absence. Those hoping to make money on the enterprise may be in for a sad surprise—have you ever tried to sell someone on an old Twinkie? “Uhh, not sure when I bought these but they were in the back of the cupboard—you want one?” Twinkies of a 2011 vintage (twinkage?) would have been trash a week ago and remain so today. Let’s not fool ourselves. Far more heroic than preservation is a hedonistic quest for one final bender, one last low of stomachache and the unmatchable flavor of Twinkie, a taste surely lost to future generations. Conservationists would be advised not to bother.

O, Twinkie the Kid! Winsome cowboy of my dreams, western harbinger of root canals, you will be sorely missed. A singular America dies with you.

Editor’s Note: Twinkies and other Hostess products are still available for sale in Canada as of this posting. But still.

82 comments
  1. SidC said:

    Five of the top ten most e-mailed NYT articles today are on making your own junk food: two devoted to Twinkies and one each on Hostess chocolate cupcakes, Oreos, and Fritos. Thankfully, no one seems intent on recreating Wonder Bread.

    • So there’s hope yet! I think Wonder Bread may remain a chimera to even the most astute of culinary scientists…

      • what about cheez whiz?

    • Last year for a marketing project I remarketed Twinkies to a new target. -The crafty baker. If I had a chance to bring back Twinkies I would market the sponge yumminess as a staple ingredient for young crafty bakers.

  2. Tig said:

    Good thing Drake makes Funny Bones. Now that would be a huge loss… :)

  3. They’re in mediation now, so maybe Twinkie will live to see another day.

  4. Well, I’m not mourning the loss of Twinkies (I’ve never liked them…. Not even a little….), but this was surely hilarious!

  5. Down South where I live, we deep-fry our Twinkies. Greasy goodness!

  6. Sorry for your loss – haven’t tried them myself as I’m in Australia and they weren’t easy to find – congrats on being freshly pressed

  7. Their downfall was when they started leaving twinkage (Twinkie carnage) on your fingers when you ate them. As a kid I remember Twinkies being much cleaner. Of course, as a kid I washed my hands twice a week… max.

  8. I admit, Im guilty. I hadnt purchased a Twinkie in years, but i am fond of them. What next…Pop tarts? Better not.

  9. Twinkies may be safe… all reports I have heard today say that other companies will purchase the Twinkie and continue to make and distribute them!

  10. Deb Mukherjee said:

    Ah my sweet Twinkies, how I shall miss your sweet fattening goodness. I’m stock piling up while I can, you want in?

  11. I only hope that you may take comfort in the fact that the Twinkie, having, as it does, a half life, may be unearthed one day, pondered, and re-purposed as a cleaning sponge.

  12. One must not forget the even greater delightfully artery clogging deep fried twinkie!

    but on a more honest note, I havent eaten a twinkie in years and personally am not mourning their extinction at all! It isnt like the shelves of walmart wont be filled with Little Debbies and other such random named cakes as the last box of twinkies and ding dongs is purchased. America loves its sugar :)

  13. Oh, this is just too funny. Check out the 30 ingredients in Twinkies on msnbc.com! Ew.

  14. Sonya said:

    “The innumerable generations of American children who will never know the foam-like, room-temperature mouthful of a Twinkie.” Hilarious and it reminded me of why I stopped eating those weird spongy cakes in the first place.

    Tallahassee in Zombieland would be SO mad. Awesome post.

  15. jkc216 said:

    I bet there will be a large surplus of purchases shortly! Although I am not sure people would even have to store the twinkies in the freezer…they will probably last at room temperature for awhile with all of the preservatives…! haha!

  16. A great read! Thanks for brightening my day — and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  17. Very “sweet” post. Perhaps there will be a solution or suitor in the US for a product with such brand recognition. Fortunately twinkies are safe and will live on in Canada :) ….

  18. FOR COMPARISON TO YOUR POST…read my poem about GOODBYE, TWINKIE THE KID…at my blog, bythemightymumford.wordpress.com. GREAT MINDS think alike! Good post and excellent points! Jonathan Caswell, Poet.

  19. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    GREAT MINDS…THINK ALIKE!—Jonathan Caswell, Resident Poet

  20. They will be surely missed.

  21. Heck. You can make your own Twinkies. Roll up angel bread and stuff it with filling and sell it on E-bay for $100 as the real thing.

  22. Personally I liked Ding Dongs and Yodels better than Twinkies.

  23. Reblogged this on Cognitive Cake and commented:
    *sigh*

  24. eatcrumbycrackers said:

    Yes, I am all for competitive wages and worker’s rights and all… but when you would rather strike due to an 8% pay cut or quit and not have a job? Dumb dumb dumb. I’ve been out of work since May, I would have loved a 8% pay cut instead of losing my job. Dumb Union!

  25. nenesw said:

    Reblogged this on Nifty Energetic Nice Extrovert – NENE and commented:
    Bye bye the best snack in the world!

  26. Twinkies and other Hostess products still available in Canada, as is Wonder Bread. Yet another reason for dissatisfied Americans to move to Canada.

  27. javaj240 said:

    That settles it. Canada here I come!

  28. Before long, people will have no comprehension of Weird Al’s culinary creation, the Twinkie Wiener Sandwich. Sad times.

  29. Wouldn’t Twinkies be considered “creamains”?

  30. Yum.
    And sad.

  31. carlo said:

    I WANT THE TWINKIES BACK!!!! This is unthinkable. It would be like Italy without Nutella. Twinkies are not just for kids. They are the best snack when you come out from the ocean after three hours of surfing and it’s cold outside and you need a boost of energy and sugar. That’s not junk food. Junk food is caviar: raw fish eggs with lemon and butter, not Twinkies. Among all the wrong wars fought all over the world, this would be the right one for giving America their snack back.

  32. Thanks for the fun read about a true cultural icon – the Twinkie. On a similar note, on the north side of Chicago there’s a plant which produces what I guess are called food flavorings. When near this factory, if the wind is blowing in the ‘right’ direction, you can smell what can only be described as the unmistakable aroma of Twinkies – it never fails to evoke my nostalgic Twinkie memories.

    • That’s the loss so poignantly portrayed in your writing – Twinkies are a cultural icon. Not just a food icon, a culinary revolution of processed food. Also, a big Media and Advertising legend. They’ve been around a LONG time. I will miss their presence, unless the company pull this one out of the proverbial hat.
      I enjoyed your prose. Well done.
      Congrats on being FPd!!! Enjoy the ride :)

  33. What a sad day, I loved Twinkies when I was little! We once did a commercial for a burger that was sealed in it’s pack, with a shelf life of four months. No competition for the Twinkie, of course.

  34. This may just be a lot of drama as a federal judge refused to allow the liquidation. Twinkies are too popular to sink into history! Keep a stiff upper lip, there is hope!

  35. Thanks for the ode to Twinkies. I haven’t eaten any in years, but I’ll miss them too. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

  36. CultFit said:

    What’s a Twinkie?!?

  37. A world without twinkies…it seems no one can imagine this. Its funny I grew up on twinkies. But, I haven’t had one in years. I just want to know that they will be around. Hopefully things will turnaround and beautiful tan marshmallow filled sponge cakes will float around again! This reminds me of how much I love the chocolate swirl cakes too….think I need to dash over to the 7Eleven.

  38. I think someone will bail Twinkie out! Hope it is soon. What do you think?

  39. Ohh goodbye Twinkie!! haha The world went into mass chaos over this, too funny. Thanks for sharing and congrats on FP!

  40. I’m in the process of redrawing my post-apocalypse plans. Maybe I need to visit Canada…

  41. I was never a huge twinkie fan, but it’s the ding-dongs and ho-ho’s I’m going to miss. Maybe the world really is going to end.

  42. I wonder how much healthier this world would be without Twinkies or many of the Hostess products. How many calories are not being added to our bodies. This could be a good thing. As long as someone quickly gets the manufacture of Donettes going, all will be fine. Twinkies — who cares :-)

  43. But whatever will the roaches eat when the world ends?

  44. How can I stuff my kids’ stockings without the quintessential stuffed snack??! No more fried twinkies at the state fairs I never attend? So sad. So very, very sad.

  45. S. L. said:

    This post is excellent. A snack squared. To be honest, I always preferred the cream-filled chocolate cupcakes.

  46. Connie T said:

    I didn’t like Twinkie’s. Walmart version of them taste way better. I just bought a box of them yesterday. In fact I made a fried “twinkie” video with the walmart brand. They look exactly like Twinkies, but they taste better.

  47. RIP Twinkie. I’m feeling like the guy in Zombieland, on a quest for the world’s last Twinkie…Who would ever think modern American staples, such as Blockbuster, Borders, and Hostess, would bite the dust? And American institutions like Kodak, possibly the post office. too sad. if only I had a Twinkie to perk up…

  48. kitty185 said:

    my dad and I used to buy hostess alot, now Hostess is shutting down and selling the companies…

  49. Jamie said:

    Great article. I just had a graphic come through my Twitter feed that I thought you might like. It’s about Twinkies and their birth to death.. Its pretty funny and almost written like a obituary.

    http://www.riptapparel.com/blog/infographic-the-twinkie-a-look-back-at-the-life-of-an-icon/

  50. To think of all the times I passed up deep-fried Twinkies at the county fair, assuming they would always be there in case I completely lost my marbles. So this is regret.

  51. My wife is a huge twinkie fan and is in mourning, She told me that there is nowhere to find a twinkie anymore only possibly on E-bay. I just looked it up on E-bay and they are selling for as high as $1500 a 4 twin pack. That is totaly insane!

  52. Very funny, Roach!! I don’t know if you have heard of — or remember — “Chocodiles,” which was essentially a Twinkie covered in chocolate. A treat within a treat (within a treat). I don’t think they ever made a Twinkie The Kid character with him because of the color of his skin. To hard to explain Twinkie’s dark-skinned brother. Sad. But not as sad as finding myself stuffing a store-bought angle food cake with whipped cream, then pouring chocolate “Shell Magic” on top as a substitute. The madness has already begun…

  53. musabee said:

    Bravo!

  54. As most people, I grew up with Twinkies. I must confess, however, that I haven’t indulged in at least twenty years. I can tell you that while I was in grammar school (1944-1952) I enjoyed them weekly, if not daily. I posted a cartoon on my blog today about the power of the Twinkie called “Twinkie Diplomacy.”

  55. Hostess has many multi-million dollar brands under their name.
    I’m waiting for this all to play out to say goodbye to the twinkie forever.
    good read!

  56. Em. said:

    I’ve never eaten a Twinkie. Actually, I’ve never had any Hostess products. I’ve not lived my life to its fullest potential and now it’s too late.

  57. The kid will be missed!

  58. GSI Productions said:

    They still have them in Canada?! I suddenly urgently need to go to the grocery store…

  59. I’m sure some company will buy the rights and keep producing them. Little Debbie already has a snack cake identical. But, it’s just not a Twinkie, though. They were the best, and I have fond memories of cutting out baseball cards off the bottom of thier boxes when I was a little kid.
    –Mike
    http://minoringinbaseball.com/

  60. Reblogged this on Web Loafer.

  61. Nice to read about Twinkiies, because I did not know about it :( Anyway, hope it is always around. Lakshmi

  62. And yet, they live!

    Sorry, just catching up on Freshly Pressed emails I missed over the year. Thanks for a great read – the terms “twinkage” and “high-fructose flagella” shall become part of my everyday vocabulary henceforth.

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