For 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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