Today was a sad day in the snack cake world. The Hostess company (probably best known for Twinkies, Ho Hos, and Ding Dongs but also the home of other well-known brands) shut down after a union strike prevented the company from baking their various food products. The company had threatened to close down if the employees didn’t return to work by yesterday afternoon and ended up having to make good on its promise: it couldn’t financially handle another day of being in limbo.
Of course, the worst news is the laying off of 18,500 workers.
The second worst news is that, unless another company buys the Hostess brands and resumes production, the world will never see another Twinkie, another loaf of Wonder Bread, or another Donette. (Or another Sno Ball, which were my favorites along with Ho Hos! ARGGGHHH!)
This morning when we heard the news, Jim said “We really need to get some Ding Dongs before they’re all gone.”
(I’m not sure he has realized yet that the Cherry Pies made by Hostess–which he likes even more than Ding Dongs–are going bye-bye too. I haven’t broken the news to him.)
I have seen all kinds of comments on this “breaking news” today, mainly coming from two distinct camps. There are the people like Jim and me who want to get a couple of boxes of our favorites before they’re gone either forever or at least for the foreseeable future, and there are the people who are basically saying, “Sayonara, Hostess!” because they’re glad that these foods won’t be sold anymore due to their lack of nutritional value.
Actually though, I think that’s something we can agree on. Nobody ever claims that Twinkies, et al are good for you. In fact, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago has a display that shows what Twinkies are made of, and it’s not very pretty.
(If you want to look at it, check out this Instagram by someone named Drew in Chicago, who I don’t know but I just followed. I also thank him profusely for taking a picture of the Twinkie signage.)
So why are bunches of us–many who admittedly gave up any shred of Hostess habit years ago–rushing to the store to see if we can grab some snack cakes?
My theory is because it’s yet another part of our childhood that we thought would exist forever, and suddenly it seems like it’s slipping away. Those not-so-nutritious treats take us back to a time when we brought our Charlie’s Angels (or Fat Albert, or Welcome Back Kotter) lunch box to school and ate our PB&J sandwich and chips before unwrapping that chocolate (or sponge cake, or marshmallow-covered) goodness. Life was simpler then. Is there any wonder* that some of us might want to “go back” for a minute?
So judge if you want, but this is what we’re having for dessert tonight.
*No pun intended, but that really was a genius-type of accident, don’t you think?