Twinkie of a dilemma

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Brennan Linsley/Associated Press file photo
In this photo from Nov. 16, Twinkies are displayed for sale at a Hostess Brands bakery in Denver. Blaming a labor dispute for ongoing financial woes, Hostess Brands decided to close shop late last year, taking with it lunch-box staples such as Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread. The company said it would try to sell off its more storied brands, so there is hope for the mysteriously enduring snack cakes.

Hostess’ demise sends customers into a panic, but the treats may get another chance

Indignant pastry lovers nationwide stocked up on their beloved Twinkies and took to the Internet to express their dismay at the news when Irving-based Hostess Brands announced it was going out of business in November.

The maker of everyone’s favorite treats such as Ding Dongs, Ho Hos and Twinkies hung up its apron and called it quits.

The news sent panicked customers to the shelves of stores in search of one last box of the heart-clogging treats.

Twinkies stock at many local grocers was quickly depleted, resulting in big money for Internet-savvy sellers.

Shakil Fiddiqui, manager of the Shell/7-11 on McCormick Street, said when the news broke late last year, people did stop by his gas station and convenience store to purchase Hostess products.

“We carried them,” he said Friday, “but they stopped delivering about four weeks ago.”

Fiddiqui said some of his customers are still asking for Hostess products.

Online, one eBay seller listed an unopened box of the cream-filled sponge cakes for the staggering stated price of $200,000.

“This is your opportunity to own a piece of history, a delicious piece at that,” wrote the North Carolina seller.

Six figures seemed a bit steep for most Twinkie lovers. Many of these pastry-filled fans have taken to websites like reddit.com to correspond with likeminded lovers of the preservative-rich snack.

“What will survivors of the apocalypse have to eat now?” wondered one such user.

For many Americans upset by the news, the impending Twinkie depletion goes deeper than an affinity for springy cake with a cream center.

Created during the Depres­sion, Twinkies have become as American as Elvis and apple pie.

“I used to eat them with my dad,” Peter Castillo said while grocery shopping in Irving. “For me, it’s not so much about the taste as about the emotional connection.”

Castillo went home empty-handed. Not a Twinkie in sight.

Twinkies may create the warm and fuzzy feelings for some loyal eaters, but for others the affection is all about taste. Irving resident Edna Daniels has enjoyed various Hostess products, including the Twinkie, for the past 50 years.

“I just think they’re good,” she says. “I’ll be sad to see them go.”

Metroplex restaurants, such as Plucker’s Wing bar, will also be sorry to see the Twinkie disappear. The sports bar took a cue from the State Fair of Texas and added a deep-fried Twinkie option to its dessert menu three years ago. Eighty thousand of the deep-fried concoctions have been sold at the fair over the last decade.

The Twinkies Cookbook by Hostess offers other creative uses for the guilty-pleasure. Recipes were submitted by Twinkie aficionados for the 75th anniversary celebration of the cake and included instructions for preparing everything from a Twinkie burrito to Twinkie lasagna.

The Twinkie has endured its fair share of criticism over the years. Many Americans have become increasingly health-conscious, leading them to question what actually goes into these little cakes. The truth alarms as well as fattens. Each Twinkie pair packs a whopping 300 calories and is made up of 39 ingredients from all over the world. And that tasty cream center? Comprised almost entirely of shortening — not an ounce of actual cream to be found.

No wonder the Twinkie has a reputation for an enduring shelf life. That reddit.com user worried about post-apocalypse nutrition may be onto something: If anything can make it through an apocalypse, a zombie invasion or alien attack, the Twinkie can. Woody Harrelson went on his own post zombie attack Twinkie pilgrimage in the cult-hit Zombieland. 

While many Americans are in a Twinkie-gate inspired flurry, there are those who simply don’t care. Dallas resident Mysha Dumois doesn’t understand the fuss. “It’s not good,” she said. “I don’t know why anyone would care.”

Others are simply looking for ways to weather the loss of the iconic treat. Daniel LaCava of Dallas said he recently overheard two men discussing the news in a local gun shop.

“Did you hear there’s going to be no more Twinkies?” one man asked the other. “Yeah, what are we going to do?” said the friend. “Don’t know. Drink more beer, I reckon.”

Panicked pastry lovers may have reason to celebrate soon. Rumor has it that Hostess’ brands, including Twinkies, have several interested buyers.

The owners of hipster favorite Pabst Blue Ribbon are rumored to be close to making a deal. Hostess CEO Gregory Rayburn recently discussed Twinkie-gate in an interview with CNBC.

“I’m certainly hopeful that we can sell the brands and the brands will live on,” he said. “They’re iconic.”

Twinkie lovers nationwide will hold their breath as negotiations continue. But, if all else fails, at least there’s beer.

 

Staff writer Karina Ramírez contributed to this report.

Nicole Jordan is a University of North Texas student.

 


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