Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Twinkies, the popular cream-filled tube-shaped shortcakes, are 75 years old. Incredible. My dad loved them, so we always a box of them handy. They're a little too sweet for me, so one or two year are plenty. I did always wonder why a box of 12 contains individually wrapped Twinkies, while a "single" serving package contains 2 Twinkies.

One of my friends has a cat, Mia, whose favorite food in the whole world is Twinkies. Mia is a cat of discriminating taste, however; she only eats the spongy shortcake, not the creamy filling.

After 75 years, Twinkies are part of our culture. The Interstate Bakeries Corporation, distributor of Twinkies and Wonder Bread, cites these examples:
  • Twinkiegate: A grand jury indicted a Minneapolis city council candidate for serving coffee, Kool-Aid, Twinkies and other sweets to two senior citizens groups. The act led to the passage of the Minnesota Campaign Act, widely known as the Twinkie law. The 71-year-old candidate, George Belair, lost the election but the charges against him were dropped. The case was dubbed "Twinkiegate."
  • Twinkie Hall of Fame: 89 year-old Lewis Browning of Shelbyville, Indiana, has been eating at least one Twinkie every day since 1941, consuming more than 20,000 Twinkies. James Dewar, who died at 88, is said to have consumed more than 40,000 Twinkies in his lifetime. Chicago consumes more Twinkies per capita than any other city in the United States.
  • Twinkiejackings: In the late 1970s, reports of Twinkie hijackings began surfacing. In 1975, a Kennett Square, PA house twice was broken into and robbed of its Twinkies. That same year, AWOL marines from a California base were stopped on a freeway driving a truck full of "hot" Twinkies. In 1976, someone stole a bakery truck containing 1800 Twinkies. The truck was found; the Twinkies were not. In 1978, two Albuquerque men held up a delivery truck and made off with two large boxes of Twinkies, which at the time were valued at $16. Nothing else was taken and no one was injured.
  • Twinkies to the Rescue: An elephant living in Sarasota, Fl refused food for days after undergoing surgery; Twinkies reportedly were used to end the hunger strike. When fifty baboons escaped from a wildlife reserve in an Ohio amusement park, Twinkies reportedly were among the treats used to try to lure the AWOL creatures back.
  • The Twinkie Defense: After former San Francisco supervisor Dan White killed the city’s mayor and another supervisor, he argued diminished capacity as a result of excessive junk food consumption. The strategy was dubbed the "Twinkie Defense."
Disclaimer: the Urban Legends Reference Page says the "Twinkie Defense" is not true.

My favorite news item today about the Twinkie's anniversary were the recipes from Hostess. Heck, I never thought of making anything out of Twinkies, I just ate 'em! (They're great with milk or vanilla ice cream.)
My favorite recipe wasn't from Hostess, though. It was this picture of the "Hillbilly Wedding Cake," sent to me by a student. The Urban Lengends Page says the "Hillbilly Wedding" pictures are hoax but my students and I agreed that the cake is clever and funny! One student, a Hostess connoisseur, identified the layers from top to bottom as Ding Dongs, Ho Hos, Twinkies, Cup Cakes, and Suzy Q's.

I suggested this cake for my niece's wedding. Although she has a great sense of humor, we just had regular wedding cake -- but my dad would have loved the Hostess version!

1 comment:

Mitch I. Gann said...

You mention a cat named "Mia" -- oddly, I also once knew a cat by that name. This Mia the cat belonged to a professor at Indiana University, who named her after the late author of a famous book in his field called "Errors and Expectations." I guess it was supposed to be a tribute. I'm not sure, though, because sometimes the professor would refer to the cat as "Tacos for Six."