That’s a Big Twinkie

Gay Lynn HillStudy Break

April 6, 1930 is a special day in culinary history – the Twinkie was invented.

The Continental Baking Company in Illinois sold baked snacks under the Hostess brand name. Many of the snacks were seasonal, with fruit filling. Hostess Little Shortbread Fingers were made with strawberries, so for several months of the year the equipment used to make them sat idle because strawberries weren’t available.

The company vice president, James Dewar, wanted to make a product that could use that equipment and improve efficiency. His idea was a simple sponge cake with a flavored cream filling. On the way to a marketing meeting, he saw a billboard advertising Twinkle-Toe Shoes. And so, the Twinkie was born.

The first Twinkies were quite different from the ones we know. For one thing, they were made with banana cream filling, not vanilla. But in World War II, there was a banana shortage, and vanilla became the standard flavor. Flavors have been added over the years, including pumpkin spice, chocolate, peppermint, and, um, deep fried (and wrapped in bacon).



In the later part of the 20th century, Hostess came under fire for misrepresenting the nutritional value of their products. People were still eating Twinkies and other Hostess products, but they were eating less of them. The cakes survived the Great Depression, but they had succumbed to the low-carb Atkins and South Beach Diets.

When Hostess filed for bankruptcy in 2012, it was big news. Twinkie vanished from store shelves, which led to bidding wars between processed sugar junkies.



Twinkies returned to grocery stores everywhere the following year, when Hostess was purchased out of bankruptcy by Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co for $410 million. Their return also made big news, along with criticism that they were smaller than before.

Twinkies continue to be a part of American life, highlighted in movies (famously featured in Ghostbusters to describe paranormal activity in New York City), rumored to be a defense for murder (“Twinkie defense” in the Harvey Milk case) and was the target of many rumors.



If eating a Twinkie in three bites isn’t enough for you, there are some delicious alternatives that will impress your friends and horrify your doctor.  Do you prefer the original Twinkie, one of the other flavors, or some other Hostess treats? Take this discussion to our Facebook page.



Image Citation:

5, April 2018, Bacon wrapped deep fried twinkie [digital photograph].  Retrieved from <bacontoday.com>.