Thursday, November 29, 2012

Good Riddance to Very Bad Rubbish

When I heard that the Hostess cake company was going out of business, I simply couldn’t believe it was true.  As a child of the 1970s, I had grown up consuming all manner of Hostess products:  Ding Dongs, Sno Balls, Ho Hos, Donettes, and Suzy Q’s—to name but a few.  I must confess that in my youth I also ate more than my fair share of that fuffy white bread in which anything wholesome or healthy had been stripped away in our incessant American quest to turn a nutritious food item into something that even starving rats would refrain from eating if they had any other options. 

And then there’s the Twinkie—a product so unnatural that it has been claimed that it can last on the shelf for years.   Already I image that hoarders are buying up as many of these tasty treats as they can find in an attempt to forestall that inevitable moment when the Twinkie will be no more.

What a shame that will be, too.  When there are no more Twinkies, where are we Americans going to find any product that so artfully combines everything that is bad for you in one conveniently wrapped product?  Where are we going to acquire our daily doses of partially hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors, and high fructose corn syrup? How can we possibly find another treat so completely empty of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein (all the things that keep us frail human beings alive)? And at such a reasonable price, too!

The Twinkie, like other Hostess products, belongs to that strange period from the 1940s-1970s when Americans became so caught up with the magic of processed foods that they lost sight that food should be nutritious as well as tasty.  Generations were raised to think that all real food must come wrapped in plastic with a corporate logo stamped on it. 

If you weren’t part of that mass-production generation, you can’t possibly know how lucky you are to be living now.  Over the past decade, many Americans have turned their backs—and closed their wallets—to the kinds of garbage that companies like Hostess have been trying to pass off as food.  We’ve seen the amazing growth of the organic, local, and whole foods moments in the United States and have also witnessed the success of food chains like Trader Joes, Whole Foods and Fairways, which specialize in providing food that our great-grandparents would recognize as such.

There might be some among us who mourn the passing of a company like Hostess.  But I am perfectly content to see this company and everything it has represented disappear.  Before it does, however, I’m determined to partake of one last Twinkie for old time’s sake.  The Twinkie, after all, is like that annoying friend who constantly got you into trouble when you were young, but was always a blast to hang around with.  Then your friend was sent off to the boy’s reformatory and you never saw him again.  You were certainly much better off without him, but you continue to wonder what sort of character defects you must have possessed to find him so appealing in the first place.

Farewell, Twinkie.  The world will be a much better place without you around.  But we did have some fine times together back in the old days, didn’t we! 

Rest in peace.

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