Twinkie Reminiscences

by Dave Schuler on November 18, 2012

Around 1960 my mom became a disciple of Adelle Davis, she discovered healthfoods, and things like Twinkies and Wonder Break disappeared from our diet, never to return. Before then Twinkies, Wonder Break, Hostess Cupcakes, Hostess Snowballs, and other highly processed and largely nutrition-free items were occasionally on the menu. I never much cared for Twinkies but I remember being quite fond of of Hostess Cupcakes. I don’t believe I’ve eaten any of them more than a half dozen times in the last fifty years. Other things that were on the banned list: Sugar Smacks, Sugar Pops, Frosted Flakes, Trix, all other heavily sweetened breakfast cereals, Jif or Peter Pan peanut butter or similar products. They were supplanted by whole oats, blackstrap molasses, wholegrain bread, freshly ground peanut butter, wheat bran, brewers yeast, and yogurt. As you might imagine no one ever wanted to trade for my lunch at school.

Something of which most people are not aware is that the original Twinkies of the 1930s were not filled with the familiar vanilla-flavored cream (or, perhaps, “imitation vanilla-flavored cream-like substance” would be more appropriate) but with banana cream. When bananas became scarce during World War II, the vanilla-flavored cream replaced the banana cream and the iconic Twinkie was born. I have no memories of those pre-war Twinkies but I have distinct memories of banana cream-filled Twinkies which makes me suspect that Hostess must have produced them occasionally in the 1950s.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Janis Gore November 18, 2012 at 5:45 pm

We focused on “scratch” cooking at our house. Shopped the perimeter — fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, bakery and dairy.

I spoke to my sister-in-law today about Thanksgiving for MIL. She’s taking her to her daughter’s house. But she did tell me that she and her remaining brother have decided that the Christmas luncheon would be too difficult and confusing for their mother.

Cool with me. I don’t have to do all that work, and saves me money. That can go food pantries. Or to the Carriage House and Bingo Starr. He cooks better than I do anyway.

For Thanksgiving, I’m volunteering with the local Feed the Hungry organization. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but family commitments intervened. The money I once spent on that meal can go local food pantries, too.

Janis Gore November 18, 2012 at 5:47 pm

By the way, the satsumas are ready and I’m starting to ship. Would you, Mr. Dave, like a liquor box of about 40? It runs me about $15 to ship.

We had 942 last year.

Janis Gore November 18, 2012 at 5:50 pm

They arrive mostly in good shape. I ship to friends in Ohio and New York.

Janis Gore November 18, 2012 at 5:56 pm

They’re Mandarin oranges. They’ll go really well with your wife’s tea.

Janis Gore November 18, 2012 at 6:54 pm

The citrus quarantine does not apply to states where citrus is not grown.

Janis Gore November 18, 2012 at 7:18 pm

I had a great interaction to day with Kathy Young, the nursery manager of the local Stine’s Hardware. She was running a 20% sale on pansies and snapdragons, two winter-resistant flowers.

She keeps desirable, seasonable stock and takes care of it like her babies. She told me so.

I’m a girl. I work to priss the place up.

She is in a fight with the management of her store. They think gardening runs from March to June. She gave me her card, with the number of the manager of the home office, a Stine.

We’ll have a conversation shortly.

Doug Mataconis November 18, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Perhaps the company that purchases the Twinkie brand will bring back the banana cream recipe. I didn’t know about that fact, but I’d be it was better than the “imitation vanilla cream-like substance” that has been filling Twinkies for decades.

Janis Gore November 18, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Well, you’d like to be my friend, wouldn’t you, Doug?

Janis Gore November 18, 2012 at 9:39 pm

I know that number, Punk.

Janis Gore November 19, 2012 at 11:50 am

Dennis Stine’s a really nice man. He was thrilled to have his opinion of Kathy validated.

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