Never has a golden sponge cake with creamy filling received so much attention as the crumbling of Hostess Brands, although the fact is it’s not actually about the Twinkies.
It’s about having a basis for comparison. Just try feeling superior eating a piece of spelt bread while knowing that the same rubbery loaf of Wonder white bread that once sat inconspicuously in the back of the refrigerator for an entire winter and still managed to maintain enough elasticity to roll into a ball tight enough to bounce off the kitchen floor in the spring will never make an appearance again — it’ll be awfully tough (the spelt bread and any credible semblance of condescension).
It’s about telling your kids how your seventh-grade classmates all used to buy Ring Dings for a quarter in the lunchroom and engage in regularly scheduled contests to see who could peel off the chocolate layer without piercing the cake, and having your own kids know what you’re talking about instead of looking at you like there’s a ring and a ding loose in your head, and if you were allowed to eat that then how come they’re not allowed to have a cookie for their morning snack — and after lunch.
It’s about trying to unravel a Yodel without it breaking (hint: it’s not possible).
It’s about how the filling in a Hostess Apple Pie is as closely related to an actual apple as the watermelon flavor in a Starburst candy is related to anything with a thick green rind, and the Hostess Cherry Pie is as connected to something that once contained a pit just as the syrup in a can of peaches ever came from anything in the vicinity of the state of Georgia. Which is to say, not at all.
But back when a diet candy named Ayds proudly took up residence in legitimate pharmacies and men with more make-up than Tammy Faye Bakker and long, teased hair wearing tight leather pants were considered tough and sexy while singing songs like “Karma Chameleon,” it was something, anyway, when trying to reach five servings of fruit each day.
It’s about having your own brand of awesomeness — Donettes — because being a regular donut wasn’t awesome enough for the revolutionaries at Hostess.
It’s about having tried Funny Bones just once and maybe only realizing right this very moment that it was possibly the world’s perfect food — peanut butter cream cuddled up in devil’s food cake and covered in a chocolate-frosting-like paste. But you’ll never be able to confirm it because, alas, they’re now only available on eBay for precious sums of money, or perhaps tucked into a corner of your small intestine from that time you split a package four ways during recess in 1982.
It’s about never, ever knowing what a pink Sno Ball tastes like, because who ever actually ate one? Even if it was nice for a minute to believe that legal marijuana in Colorado and a cream-filled chocolate cake covered with marshmallow frosting and coconut flakes could have enjoyed a moment in time at the same time.
It’s about acknowledging that Twinkies are too sacred to ever attempt to make them from scratch using any of the endless recipes that have recently been made available online. While you might not really mind taking it on as a hobby, it would be futile to try and literally recreate the Twinkie, because where can you actually buy sodium stearoyl lactylate and dextrin that doesn’t require top-level security clearance?
It doesn’t matter that you haven’t had a Twinkie in 20 years (even though it wasn’t on principle, you just kind of forgot about them, and then even when you remembered, you saw they also started carrying wasabi almonds at that gas station where you always stop to use the bathroom on the way home from the airport and those just seemed a little less wrong).
Because it’s really not about the Twinkies. At all.
As everyone knows, it’s all about the Hostess Cupcakes. Whether it’s the delicate white swirl dancing and weaving on top of the thick fudge topping or perfectly moist cake grinning neatly underneath while patiently hiding the perfectly creamy, if not suspiciously thick, filling, it was as close to heaven as you’ll get while you’re still breathing.
R.I.P., Hostess. We’ll all be saving some room for you on the other side. (Because you can stop taking CrossFit classes and Lipitor after you’re already dead, right?)
More at MeredithCarroll.com.