Photo Credit: James and James/Photodisc/Getty Images
2012 has been a nerve-wracking year for fans of Twinkies and Devil Dogs, ever since parent company Hostess brands filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection back in January. After months of failed attempts at financial reorganization and a recent union workers' strike, the saga is ending in a less-than-sweet way. The company plans to head to bankruptcy court today to ask permission to liquidate the company entirely. Hostess also owns regional brands Drake's, Dolly Madison Bakery and Wonder Bread, leaving the future of not only Sno-Balls but Ho-Hos, Zingers, Ring Dings and more in the balance.
According to the New York Post, "If Hostess liquidates, it is likely that competitors would buy the best brands — but not keep the plants or Hostess’ 18,000-plus workers." This is most certainly not "the best thing since sliced bread" -- the company is sounding the death knell for a set of American icons, remembered fondly by baby boomers, Generation X and Millennials alike.
For most of us, the white icing doodle on top of a cupcake or the creamy ooze of fluffy vanilla filling signify more than an after-school snack: they're beloved symbols of wholesome and retro Americana, up there with Saturday morning cartoons, TV dinners and vinyl records. It's a slightly ironic place in the pantheon for a bunch of snacks that seem truly indestructible (made as they are/were with high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils), but the taste memories may now endure longer than the snacks themselves.
If the worst comes to pass and Twinkie the Kid rides off into the sunset, there's a ray of sunshine to keep our sugar high going: we can always make them at home. Recipes for Twinkies, Hostess chocolate and orange cupcakes, Raspberry Zingers, Devil Dogs and fruit pies can be found in my forthcoming cookbook, Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats (Ulysses Press, February 2013). It's the next best thing to the real thing.
WATCH: DIY: Make Your Own Twinkies