Long live Twinkies

Lots of people are mourning the Hostess Twinkie, but I think reports of its extinction are premature. I’m certain someone already has a plan to license the names and recipes of all those Hostess snack foods. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened in the snack food industry. Dolly Madison Zinger (made by Hostess), anyone?

Snack food industry. What a great phrase. It’s all smiles and sugar until you bolt on the word “industry.” Then something light and fluffy acquires weight and substance: automobile industry, aerospace industry, snack food industry. Not only that, but when you look at the ingredients of the snack foods, many of them are also found in airplane wiring and automobile interiors.

Anyway, back to the Twinkies.

Even if Twinkies did disappear forever, would that be such a bad thing? Brands – even longstanding ones – come and go. If that weren’t the case, we would all be filling up our Studebakers at the DX gas station, then driving to the neighborhood Rexall to pick up some Sal Hepatica for Grandma and a Hollywood candy bar to eat on the way home, where we’d find Dad pouring himself a glass of Drewry’s beer while Mom mixed up a big pitcher of Funny Face drinks. Later we could all sit down to watch something from the DuMont network on our Zenith television sets while glancing at Look magazine.

You get the picture (which is more than you could say for the Zenith). Things come and go, and new things come along to replace them. Just like people.

I have some fond memories of Twinkies but they don’t involve eating them.

My grandfather loved Twinkies. He used to play cards in the back room of a restaurant in LaGrange where the stakes were candy bars and Hostess cakes. Grandpa being an excellent card player, he always had a big basket of his winnings on top of the refrigerator, and many a time I saw him split a package of Twinkies with my baby sister.

You’ll notice I was the observer here. He didn’t like me well enough to share Twinkies with me.

And then there was Edwin, a legendary copy boy at The Indianapolis News.  Edwin was developmentally disabled and as such, he valued routine. And so his lunchbox, packed daily by his mother, always contained chicken-and-stars soup, white bread, vanilla wafers and a Hostess Twinkie. Every single day. Every single day, that is, except one.

One day, Edwin’s mom forgot the Twinkie. He was beside himself with worry and anger. He went through every drawer of every desk in the city room looking for his Twinkie. He accused every one of us, in turn, of stealing it. He refused to accept a replacement Twinkie from the vending machine upstairs. It wasn’t until we called his mom and she confessed that she’d forgotten to pack it that day that. I’m pretty sure he went to his grave thinking someone had stolen it.

Edwin would not have taken the Twinkie news well, is what I’m trying to say.

But as I said, I’d be surprised if the Twinkie were well and truly dead. I’m certain it will be resurrected by the snack food industry. And if not, I still won’t mourn.

I would only do that for Tastykakes.