Twilight of the Twinkie?

Who killed the Twinkie?Just for fun… I feel strangely compelled to comment on the cultural shockwave that’s come with the passing of an American icon: the Hostess Twinkie.

Ironic, isn’t it?  The pop culture joke has long been that Twinkies could survive anything.  Think of Pixar’s Wall-E: in that depressingly dystopian future, humans have literally trashed the planet and then deserted it.  What’s left?  Well, for one thing, a cockroach–that lives in a Twinkie.

Then there’s the Super Bowl commercial for the Chevy Silverado.  This time, it’s the Mayan Apocalypse that’s destroyed the world, and we’ve traded the cockroach for a truck.  But the Twinkie?  Still there.

I doubt anyone really believes that Twinkies will last forever.  That reputation seems to stem from the misconception that they’re not real food, but a largely chemical concoction cooked up in a lab.  I certainly wouldn’t call them health food, but they’re no worse than most of the other sugary snack items Americans consume by the truckload.  They’re just designed not to spoil easily–the “creamy filling” isn’t cream–especially if kept sealed in their wrappers.  According to this post at snopes.com, Twinkies are supposed to have a shelf life of 25 days.  But watch this hilariously disturbing time-lapse video, which shows a Twinkie showing no signs of degradation even after more than two months.  So now we know: Twinkies outlast tomatoes.

But a nuclear holocaust?  Meh.

I never was big on Twinkies; Cupcakes and Ho-Hos were more my speed (mmm…bland, waxy chocolate!), but even then it was never a habit.  So I was a bit taken aback at how Hostess products went flying off the grocery shelves when the company announced bankruptcy.  People were seen in stores with their shopping carts loaded with Twinkies.  Were they for personal consumption, or for selling on eBay?

Either way, it’s testimony not only to our addiction to sugar, but to the Twinkie’s iconic role in American culture, from the “Twinkie defense” to the deep-fried Twinkie that’s become a staple at county fairs.  Rest assured, Twinkies will be back.  There’s still a huge market for them; surely some company will buy the rights.

So, Twinkie-lovers, be patient and don’t despair.  Have a carrot.  And start getting used to the idea that your favorite snack food may end up with a new family name.  They won’t be Hostess Twinkies anymore.  Maybe “Healthy Choice Twinkies”?  Hmm.

Nah.