Today I was plodding through my local Walmart when I saw perhaps the most amazing gift that mankind has received in the last four years: golden sponge cake, sweet white cream, three ivory puncture holes, all wrapped in crinkly cellophane.
That’s right, friends and neighbors, I present to you the Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever:
Twinkies are childhood. I can’t even tell you the first time I tasted a Twinkie, but I cannot remember a time without them. I’ve had them fresh, slightly stale, warm, cold, frozen, deep-fat-fried. I even did this once:
Sometimes, when I would come home after school and the bullies had hit me and the teachers had been mean, my mummy would be right there with a fresh Twinkie and a cup of grape Kool-Aid.
Words can not describe how distraught it made me when I heard that Twinkies were going extinct. I was warned by an employee of Dolly Madison about three months before Hostess went room temperature, but I couldn’t believe it. I was in full denial. There was no way that Twinkies could go under. They are a friggin’ American Institution. Who doesn’t love a Twinkie.
Soon, however, I began to realize that even an American Institution could go crash and burn in this economy, and there were some strange people out there who did not, in fact, love Twinkies. I followed the news carefully and mourned their demise the same way that I mourned the loss of Gatorgum, New Coke, Necco Candy Cigarettes, and Fleer’s Pumpkin Face Bubble Gum. Sometimes life just isn’t fair and the things that we love the most disappear before we are ready for them to be gone – like Alien Ant Farm.
But after a dry winter and spring, I heard about the conglomeration that bought Hostess. I knew that Twinkies were coming back and they were even having a FESTIVAL for them, but I didn’t think I would get any until at least Monday. That was okay. I could be patient. It is not often that we get second chances with our beloved childhood treats.
Then I walked into Walmart, the undisputed King of sleazy big business, and there it was, this blue and white, never stale shrine to the gods of consumerism, commercialism, and cream.
The biggest surprise was that there was still some stock standing. I can assure you that I remedied that situation. I mean last time, I missed out on the final rush. I am not going to let that happen again. Twinkies could disappear at any moment and since they never expire*, I decided to stock up the ol’ Deigh doomsday bunker with golden spongy dreaminess. If and when the apocalypse unfolds, I won’t want for tastebud titillation.
The new box is classic in its design, but with a snazzy new logo advertising the fact that these things are finally back. And all the people rejoice!
Nine months. That’s how long these things have been gone. Nine months without Twinkies. That’s the amount of time it takes to make a baby. That’s a long time. I needed that Twinkie. I wish I could say that I had any control, but the simple fact is that as soon as the box was open, that Twinkie was gone. I got to the car, and dove right in.
The first time was ridiculous. I am not sure if I tasted much other than Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable And/Or Beef Fat, and High Fructose Corn Syrup, tinted with sweetness…
All I know is that my tongue was coated with deliciousness and grease, and I felt spongy cake in my throat. It was a bit drier than I remembered, but it was worth it, so worth it.
I drove home in a sugary daze of insulin-induced bliss.
Once I got back home, I needed another fix. This time, I was able to take it a bit slower, and enjoy my next Twinkie.
The box was light in my hands and the house never seemed as warm or as welcoming as it did at that moment. The lights were warm but not too bright. The air conditioner cooled our domicile with a comforting little hum. The Twinkie in my hand felt soft, warm, inviting me to unwrap it, to devour it.
So I did. But slowly, relishing the moment with easy deliberateness, like a man entering a cold swimming pool on a cool day. The wrapper crinkled as I removed it, and the smell of sponge cake assailed my nose with blitzkrieg precision.
And there they were, the three traditional puncture holes, the place where the cream filling is injected – a marvelous invention of confection and sugar. For a moment, I considered bringing the holes to my mouth and sucking the innards out like a sparkly twinkling vampire. But, no. This would be a traditional snacking, not a ravaging. No fancy, schmancy evisceration for my Twinkie. I would do this the old fashioned way, put it in my mouth and munch.
Gently, hesitantly, I brought the cake up, and bit. I wanted this moment to last. I wanted it to be good and satisfying. I had waited a long time for this Twinkie, and I wasn’t about to have a repeat of the scarfing event like what happened in my car.Oh, it was good. The taste was just as I remembered. Savoring it was much better than eating it Scooby Doo style with just three bites. The flavor was sweet and satisfying. The texture was just the right ratio of spongy and smooth. But, it happened . . . after one bite I couldn’t help myself. I shoved the entire thing in.
I don’t know what it is about Twinkies, but I can not eat them slowly. I bite, and then seem to swallow without chewing. Soon, I gulp it down. But it wasn’t all bad. I can live with how I eat them, just knowing they exist.
You can see the smile in my eyes, as the cream set on my lips. My stomach was full and my heart was happy. But I am not selfish. The entire time I was eating my long-prognosticated repast, the ol’ mutt was staring at me with those big brown eyes. He licked his lips, drooling over my snacking. So, I let him clean up.
As you can see, he thoroughly enjoyed it, just as much as I did, and the best part is that now we know that he is not allergic to Latex. Anyway, all of us should celebrate the return of the Twinkie. Go to Walmart, pick up a box. Celebrate America.