Sunday, July 14, 2013

They’re Ba-a-a-a-a-a-ck!

Twinkies: The Snack Cake, the Urban Legend, the Sweetest Comeback Ever

It was marked on my calendar: July 15, 2013.

I was prepared to be in the Walmart parking lot playing cards with multitudes of other Twinkie die-hards when the truck pulled in.
I wasn’t prepared to see this display on the 13th when I dropped by to grab a prescription. OMG.

A manager and a stock boy elbowed each other when I whipped out my Samsung and snapped a photo. I heard them tell another customer that this was all they’d been able to get. By the time I’d seized a box and pocketed my phone, a crowd was gathering. More clicks and flashes. More boxes snatched. Happily, by the time the all-hands page came over the PA, I was safely in the check-out line.

So what happened? “A surprise appearance,” KTLA in Los Angeles called it. Out there the iconic treats were on the shelves by Friday, three days ahead of the official relaunch. No other explanation seems forthcoming.
This redux comes courtesy of private equity firms Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co who acquired Hostess after the bankruptcy late last year. It’s now known as Hostess Brands LLC.

Why is this important to me? Twinkies, as much as I like them, were never a staple of my diet even in childhood. Mother would never have permitted it. A quick glance at the ingredients will explain why. It’s just that Twinkies and the rest of the Hostess line are quintessential Americana. And I have this insane weakness for fluffy cream fillings.
Speaking of ingredients, any truth to the urban legend that chemicals used in production give Twinkies an indefinite shelf life?  Nope. Despite the Spam-like longevity referenced in Die Hard, WALL-E, Zombieland, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, and Family Guy, it would never pass muster on MythBusters. True, Twinkies lasted a relatively long time because they are made without dairy products. But 26 days was max. And according to a Hostess official quoted in the New York Times back in 2000, "Twinkie is on the shelf no more than 7 to 10 days.”  

Now, however, the spongy yellow cakes can last up to 45 days. Huh? How? Sorry, that’s proprietary info, per Hostess spokeswoman Hannah Arnold. And here’s more food for thought: The New York Post reported last week that some of the products will be delivered frozen so retailers can stamp their own expiration dates on the cakes. Right.
So, keeping moderation in mind, WELCOME BACK, TWINKIE!

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