Picture from Hostess Corp.
Copyright © 2012 by Ralph Couey
Written content only.
Looking back across the years there are always certain things that define eras of one's life. It may be something like a baseball glove, or a certain shirt; a ticket stub from a concert. Or something that commemorates the moment when we met that person who completely changed our life. More times than not however, it's food that whets the appetite of rememberance.
A couple of weeks ago, a labor-management dispute reached a critical point. Normally, these events come and go in the news without much outside attention. But this time, the dispute involved the bakery and confectionary giant Hostess, the maker of things like Ho Ho's, cupcakes, Ding-Dongs, Donettes, and the iconic delight Twinkies. I won't go into the specifics of the dispute, only to note that management, rather than compromise with the union, committed an act of corporate kamikaze and announced that it would close it's doors forever.
The announcement sparked an immediate run on the snack products, especially Twinkies. A box of a dozen appeared on E-bay for $200,000. Across the country, shelves of grocery stores and convenience marts were stripped. In Kansas City, a radio station talk show received donations of several boxes of hostess treats and auctioned them off for charity, garnering almost a thousand dollars for a pile of treats that a week earlier could have been bought for 20 bucks.
The nationwide reaction to this news and the instant appearance of hoarders and collectors no doubt pleased retailers. It became clear that a latent love affair with the golden cream-filled snack cakes had been revealed.
On the surface, there would appear to be no good reason to eat these things. For adults, the amount of sugar and calories make them verboten to those with cardiac and blood sugar problems. And yet, when an adult eats one, you can see in their face the memories that have returned.
Kids can eat just about anything, and usually do, without seeming consequence. I suppose that's one reason why the affection for Twinkies is so strong. At that age, it didn't matter how many calories or grams of sugar were in them. We ate them because...well...we could.
And they were so good.
On Friday nights after dinner, our family would make our weekly trek to the grocery store. I was given the empty soda bottles to return for deposit. For those, I would receive the astounding total of twenty-seven cents. That left me the exact amount to buy the latest Superman or Batman comic book for fifteen cents, and a two-pack of Twinkies for twelve. Thus supplied, I was rendered happy and content.