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Posted at 04:47 PM ET, 01/11/2012

Farewell, my Twinkie, as Hostess files for bankruptcy


These aren’t the ones I ate. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Hostess is filing for bankrupty.

Hostess of Wonderbread.

Hostesss of Zingers, both chocolate and vanilla.

Of coffee cakes and Snoballs, coconut-and-marshallow-covered chocolate cakes with creamy filling, of that radioactive pink not known on land or sea.

Hostess of HoHos. Hostess of DingDongs. Hostess of donettes and fruit pies with real lemon and cherry fruit filling, of sweet rolls and prison-uniform-orange cupcakes and Suzy Q’s and the Honey Bun Jumbo (one of its “breakfast classics”).

Hostess of Twinkies.

To commemorate this occasion, I bought a package. The Twinkies’ expiration date appears to be February, 2030, but I might be reading that wrong. They seem pretty hardy.

How can one describe the unique gustatory experience of a Twinkie? Perhaps the person who came closest was Dan White, who insisted that after eating them he felt compelled to dash out and murder several people, including Harvey Milk.

That seems about right.

The Twinkie beggars comparison. It will outlive any words I write about it. Even if Hostess cannot pull itself back together through the process of bankruptcy, Twinkies will endure. They are known for that. There is one on my desk that dates from the Pleistocene epoch, and it is still perfectly good. At least it tastes no worse than the other one.

Tasting a Twinkie is like kissing a lover, if your lover is bad at kissing and makes you want to chunder a little. Tasting a Twinkie is like learning that your valorous son has perished in the Crusades and Squinty John will be taking over the kingdom. Tasting a Twinkie is like discovering that love exists, but that you are ineligible for it. A Twinkie is disappointment wrapped in sponge cake. They taste as good as you would expect enriched bleached wheat flour, niacin, thiaminie??? mononitrate (81), partially hydrogenated vegetable and/or animal shortening, dextrose, soy protein isolate, polysorbate 60, cellulose gum, sodium stearoyl lactylate, and possibly peanuts, to taste. If anyone insists that these are actually good, I challenge you to a duel, to be fought with Twinkies at dawn. They also double as a nifty weapon.

Stop worrying that they’re going away! The last adjective I'd associate with Hostess products is “evanescent” or “fleeting,” or really any descriptor that implies they have less staying power than a nuclear-bomb-resistant cockroach. This Twinkie will outlive me. I say this with no malice. It will outlive you, too, probably. It will outlast the works of Shakespeare.

Looking at a Twinkie, one has that feeling of gazing upon a lasting work that will endure well after the Earth has been swallowed by the sun and all humankind’s greatest monuments vanish in dust. If Ozymandias had been smart, he would have built his statue out of these. They’re a snack food that doubles as all-terrain armor.

And most of our food these days is like that. Pepsi actually released scientific findings that implied that if you left a dead mouse in Mountain Dew, it would transform into a “jelly-like” goo. This is an actual fact! Any more chemicals and our food will start eating us.

And now Hostess is going bankrupt.

Maybe it was all the health food that did it. Certainly the only arena where a carrot could defeat a Twinkie was in the realm of public opinion. Carrots walking down dark alleys generally quake with terror, thinking that they hear the light footfalls of a Twinkie stealing up behind them. They are no match for the things. Twinkies could smother us all in our sleep. As it is, they’re trying to do nefarious things to our arteries. In the battle between man and Twinkie, it was clear that man would not emerge victorious.

No, the only thing that could defeat the Twinkie, it turns out, was Hostess itself. And even now they’ll endure for centuries, treats against the current, indestructible, invincible, unbowed. Inedible, if you ask me.

By  |  04:47 PM ET, 01/11/2012

 
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