I can't believe I'm actually writing about "Twinkies," --that rounded rectangular sponge cake with the vanilla cream centre. None of my coffee group have eaten it in decades, but they actually mourned this sweet confection's demise as we sipped our lattes and savoured our buttery, apple/pecan Danishes.
It did bring back a flood of memories for all of us. I remember studying for exams with my best friend. She firmly believed food, specifically a dozen Twinkies, would help us retain the information crammed in 4-hours that we supposedly learned over the entire school year. It must have helped as we both passed.
Marlena loves to collect bits of fascinating trivia, then tossing it out to catch our reactions. One tidbit, approrpriately named "Twinkiegate," happened in 1986 when George Belair, a Minneapolis candidate for city council, was accused of trying to bribe seniors for their votes with coffee, kool-aid and $34 worth of Twinkies. This actually resulted in a fair campaign act known as the "Twinkie Law" which was later repealed in Minnesota. And who could forget the "Twinkie Defense?" In May 1979, San Francisco supervisor, Dan White was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting deaths of Mayor George Moscone and supervisor, Harvey Milk. White's lawyers claimed their client had indulged in a poor diet of Twinkies, became depressed and it drove him to commit murder.
Barb remembered her mother telling her that the original Twinkies had a banana cream filling, but there was a banana shortage during the Second World War. So, in 1945, Twinkies got a makeover using a vanilla cream filling. Apparently the original Twinkies were made of butter, milk and eggs with a shelf life of 2-days. Now, the sponge cake has 8 of its 39 ingredients derived from corn, is non-dairy and has a shelf life of 25 days.
How did Twinkies come about? I thought you'd never ask. I did my Google bit and found out that in 1930, Continental Bakery's vice-prez, James Dewar was inspired when he saw a pair of "Twinkle Toe Shoes." At that time, his bakery was trying to sell shortbread fingers filled with strawberries, under the Hostess brand name. "Little Shortbread Fingers" was reborn with the new name of "Twinkies."
I am sorry to see the passing of another food icon, but in this 21st century, I wouldn't be surprised to see another company buying the Twinkie name and bringing it back. China is building European cars so why not a restructured Twinkie? I can see it now with a delicate sponge cake with a choice of fillings: coconut cream, sweet red bean filling or a light green tea butter cream. Owner/chef, Christopher Sell, of a Brooklyn fish 'n chips eatery, was the first to deep fry Twinkies--the result is not unlike the Mexican doughnut, "churros."
Hey, the possibilities goes on. Twinkies will never die--it'll just be reborn with a new face and flavour to catch a new generation. Life goes on and so does Twinkies.