Oh Twinkie, my Twinkie

Last updated 09:22 06/01/2010

TwinkiesFor quite some time now I have been fascinated by weird "plasticised" food.  You know, the kind of stuff that will outlive us in the event of natural (or unnatural) disaster.  Cheese in a can. Spam. But above either of these...Twinkies.

I think part of it is the name.  Twinkies.  It's got definite appeal to the child in me.  It sounds kind of like a race of magical creatures from an animated morning cartoon.  And let's not forget that it does seem that currently anything starting with the letters T and W is ripe for becoming a cultural obsession.  Twitter.  Twilight.  Twinkies.  It's the the zeitgeist twiple threat.  I mean triple threat.

Twinkies, to me, are the essence of America.  At least the unknowable America of a multitude of pop culture references.  For years I had no idea what Thanksgiving really was, and to be honest I'm still a little foggy about Hannukah and eggnog (not that I'm assuming that they go together).

I think my Twinkie interest may have started with the movie Ghostbusters, wherein a Twinkie is used to give scale to the amount of psycho-kinetic energy infesting New York city.  We are told to imagine a 35-foot-long Twinkie.  Well, I tried but I had never actually seen one up close...and also I hadn't had much experience with Imperial measures either.  And then of course there was Die Hard.  In this tremendous example of Bruce Willis' uncanny gift for looking beat up (I say this with love, I have watched this film so many times I can quote huge chunks of dialogue) he is heard to cry out, presumably in pain, before revealing that he's just tried to consume "a thousand-year-old twinkie".  Oh Bruce, wherefore art thou so masochistic? 

And of course more recently, the Twinkie's true calling as an iconic example of American, um, cuisine, is realised in the recent Zombie film, the truly wonderful Zombieland where Woody Harrelson's redneck Bruce Willis on crack with some emotional issues searches for the mythical foodstuff. 

I think the word "foodstuff" is very appropriate with regards to Twinkies.  They're sort of like food, but also a lot like "stuff".  And I can speak from a position of authority now, for yesterday I lost my Twinkie v-plates.

My friend Betsy, lately returned to her homeland of the U S of A, had sent met a whopping great care package containing enough sugar and preservatives to keep a Brownies troop hyped up for nigh on a fortnight.  Yes, dear readers, I now have in my possession such fine culinary creations as Tootsie rolls, Pop tarts, Reese's peanut butter cups (mini and normal size), Moon pies, Butterfingers, sachets of Kool-Aid, Ding Dongs and of course Twinkies.  It may well take me a year or so to eat it all, but I'm assured that none of it will go off, being made as it is from the same stuff they coat the space shuttle with that allows it to tolerate crazy-hot temperatures upon re-entering the Earth's atmosphere...or something.

So far I have eaten one Twinkie, one mini peanut butter cup and one Moon pie and I am currently eyeing up the Ding Dongs. (And that is seriously not a sentence I ever imagined that I would write - at least not in relation to food. "Eyeing up the Ding Dongs" seems like it might be associated with an entirely different appetite, or is that just me?)

Are there any American wonders, food or otherwise, with which you have a similar fascination?  Have you been curious about Twinkies?  Does anyone know what "sodium stearoyl lactylate" is?  And does anyone know where I can get some Ho-Hos?

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72 comments
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Nathan   #1   09:30 am Jan 06 2010

My Grandmother lives in America and even though I have not seen her for many years i remember her sending the family a care package containing hundreds of lollipops.

I got greedy and grabbed all the ones that i thought were "Cola" flavoured only to find out that they were infact "Root Beer" flavoured.

My Mum tyold me i had to eat them since I wanted them and after eating several I have to say that i can see why the Americans love root beer. It may taste a bit funky but it is odly satisfying. Just like Dr Pepper almost but not quite.

Louisette   #2   09:38 am Jan 06 2010

It's not just you Moata. I too find these synthetic "food" items fascinating, largely because so many Americans eat them by choice. I assume they must taste nice for people to eat them, but they look so plasticky that I just can't imagine how they would. What's your verdict? Are they nice? And do they taste like food?

And no, I couldn't eat any product called a Ding Dong with a straight face. As for the Ho-Hos, Courtenay Place on a Friday or Saturday night is a pretty sure bet. I'm sure Christchurch has a Courtenay Place equivalent.

nick   #3   09:43 am Jan 06 2010

you can get every single thing you listed here.... it just takes a bit of hunting

Clare   #4   09:52 am Jan 06 2010

Cinnabons! They are everywhere in the US and I understand that they are making forays into NZ but only in Auckland so far. Actually it's probably best that they never make it to Wellington as I will never fit my clothes again. They are seriously, deliciously addictive and the smell draws me like a magnet.

My concentration at work is now officially shot.

paul   #5   09:55 am Jan 06 2010

I was always fascinated by Twinkies because they were heavily advertised in comic books in the 70's. But like the mythical sea people that you could grow in your own aquarium also advertised in these comics - the reality was disappointing.

This is the reason why 80% of America is either overweight or obese.

Chilli   #6   09:55 am Jan 06 2010

I'm a bit like this with English snackfoods due to living there in 2007. Hob Nobs are delicious and Double Decker chocolate bars are a heart attack waiting to happen, but boy do they taste good!

Moata, now that you have one in your possession, what in the hell is a tootsie roll?

maz   #7   09:59 am Jan 06 2010

T and W... Tiger Woods?

Red   #8   10:06 am Jan 06 2010

Oreos. Mmmmmmm coffee-and-cream oreos, mint oreos, fudge covered oreos .... mmmmm oreos. And Kraft Light Raspberry salad dressing.

You can buy ho-hos online at sella or zillion auction sites but they're very expensive ($40 a box type of expensive). Otherwise, in Auckland is Martha's Back Yard, which sells american food stuff. They have a website too so might be inclined to mail you some - marthasbackyard.co.nz

Niri Tacen   #9   10:15 am Jan 06 2010

Sodium stearoyl lactylate is an emulsifier. Basically it's used to ensure all the ingredients in a mixture (eg: oil and water, which normally separate out) evenly mixed.

kater   #10   10:15 am Jan 06 2010

Come on then, what was it like???


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