Monday, April 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Twinkies!!!

I'm going to come clean here.

One: I haven't had a Twinkie in years.
Two: This post is "stale."

I finally got to Pennsylvania late last night and quite frankly, I'm pooped!!! However, I really really had big plans for Twinkies Day but, I realized, that's just not going to happen today. So, I'm going to share my Twinkies post from last year. Rather than have you "fly" over to my other blog, Tasteful Inventions, I'm recycling the post and leaving it here. Enjoy Twinkie Day!!!

During a time in American history when sharing and "making do" were a way of life it's difficult for the present generation to fully understand the true impact of the "Great Depression." Yet, even during the depression many foods were invented or introduced. Take Twinkies for example. Twinkies were the brain child of James Dewar who baked up the idea on April 6, 1930. One can only imagine what it must have been like to live during a time when raisins were a nickel, double dip ice cream cones were a nickel and a two pack of Twinkies was 5 cents but few had a wooden nickel.

The inspiration for those spongy golden cream filled snack cakes fell upon James Dewar, when he noticed that the pans used to make shortcakes at the Continental Bakeries (where he was plant manager) were only used during strawberry season. These were times of only the bare necessities when bread lines and soup kitchens distributed food for the masses. Dewar figured he needed to be more productive and put all items to good use. What could he do with those pans? The notion of a two-to-a pack snack for a nickel fell into place once he realized he could inject the little cakes with a cream filling and make them a year round product. The first "Little Shortcake Fingers" to roll off the Continental Bakeries assembly line contained a banana cream filling, but the banana cream filling was later replaced with vanilla cream because during WWII, there was a shortage of bananas in the US. Originally, James Dewar gave his new product the name "Little Shortcake Fingers," some say, they were later called "Twinkie Fingers" after Dewar saw a billboard advertisement toting "Home of Twinkle Toe Shoes" while on a trip to St. Louis. Later, James Dewar shortened the name to Twinkies. According to Slashfood, Hostess was thinking about "producing" banana creme Twinkies.

Howdy Twinkie

It's Howdy Doody time! Nearly all classic processed food offers some sort of comfort. Why? I don't suppose anyone really knows. In her book Top Sellers USA, Molly Wade McGrath has this to say about the decadent popularity of Twinkies.

The cakes were popular and became more so in the fifties when Hostess co-sponsored the popular Howdy Doody show. While Clarabell the clown distributed the cakes to the children, Buffalo Bob sang praise for the benefit of at home viewers. Twinkie the Kid the cowboy snack cake character, pitched Twinkies to the next generation of youngsters and still can be found handing out free samples at parades, fairs, sports events, and other festive functions. With hundreds of thousands of children in the television viewing audience glued to their TV sets at 5:30 p.m. weekdays, each show opened with Buffalo Bob asking — "Hey, kids, what time is it?" The children in the studio audience "peanut gallery" responded in unison, "It’s Howdy Doody time!" Buffalo Bob Smith did commercials for Wonder Bread, Campbell Soup, Hostess Twinkies and other sponsors that were new to television; which taught marketers the strength of marketing to children. Twinkie the Kid the yellow, anthropomorphized Twinkie appearing as a wrangler who carries a lasso and wears boots, gloves, a kerchief, and a ten-gallon hat was introduced around 1971. He remains the mascot for Twinkies. Twinkie the Kid has appeared on product packaging, in commercials, and as collectible related merchandise.

Super Twink!

Do you have a Twinkie in your lunch pail? The sales of those little short cake fingers still continue to soar. They have also squeezed their way into the history of pop culture for years to come. From Superman (who celebrated his 50th birthday with a Twinkie cake) to Archie Bunker who "never went out without a Twinkie in his lunch pail" Twinkies rule!

In the 1970s, comic strips featured Batman, Wonder Woman, and other super heroes using Hostess cakes and pies to fight villians...The popular treats were featured in several big hit films, including Ghostbusters, Grease, Sleepless in Seattle and Die Hard. Who can forget Sergeant Al Powell in Die Hard buying an armload of Twinkies, telling the store clerk they were for his pregnant wife? PDF source

Twinkie Recipes

There's much ado about the food properties of a Twinkie. To most Twinkie die-hard fans, the ingredients don't really matter. They just taste sooooo goood. Between 1949 and 1959, chemists came up with more than 400 additives to help foods survive increasingly complex mass production techniques. During the early 60's, the ingredients used to make Twinkies were changed. No longer was an actual dairy cream filling used. Instead, the filling became dairy free (longer shelf life I suppose). I have tried to gather a few recipes for those who would prefer to indulge in what may be a healthy alternative and I have also included the Hostess website for ideas for using Twinkies in recipes. As an added bonus, there's a wonderful tale of the history of Twinkies at the Cakespy blog titled Twinkie, Twinkie, Little Star: The Story of a Lunchbox Icon which is most interesting and also rewarding especially for anyone looking for a Vegan or homemade Twinkie choice. Enjoy!

FYI: Don't forget Coffee Cake Day tomorrow!!!

1. Almost Twinkie Cake 
2. Twinkie Cake
3. Hostess Recipe Website
4. Tasteful Inventions


  1. Let me tell you that I love Twinkies, Louise. I was such a fan as a kid that my classmates referred to me as "Twinkie the Kid." Once I made a dessert called "Undesended Twinkies." It's like a trifle (sort of) but the Twinkie sponge cake is submerged in orange Jello. It's the most excellent thing, and has to be seen, to be believed!

  2. I haven't had a twinkie in years either. Now I want one!

  3. I am not familiar with the Twinkies... but will be on the look out and taste them as soon as I can spot some of them ! ;-)

  4. i'm not sure if i've ever had a twinkie before. it looks familiar and sounds familiar, but i don't remember if i've ever had 1 before. hehe.

  5. I've never eaten twinkie but heard so many times about it :)

  6. I've never heard of them before! They look good though!

  7. I haven't had a Twinkie in quite some time either. Interesting history.

  8. mmmm...now I want a Twinkie...

    Can't wait to see you this weekend!

  9. Living in San Francisco, sadly my memories are of the Twinkie Defense. The Twinkies made me do it--shoot the SF Mayor and City Councilman Harvey Milk.

    I grew up with TastyCakes, and there was a similar confection, although, clearly not a twinkie.

    Thanks for the history.

  10. I have not had it before! :O
    But I knew about it for some time now.

  11. The latest issue of Woman's Day Mag. has recipes for Twinkies, Snowballs and other commercial snacks. The picture on the cover makes them look just like the store made ones. Alas the pan to make the Twinkie shape is quite expensive. The price of no additives is steep. :)

  12. A Twinkie Creamsicle! Wonders of wonders, who would of thought? The Twinkies Kid? that's hysterical T.W. I'm thinking you need to recreate that "masterpiece" at least one more time to show the world! Perhaps, next year on Twinkie Day?

    I'm a Mallomar fan myself, duckie. However after this post and these comments, I must say a Twinkie is sounding mighty good these days! But who can just eat one?

    Hi Sidney, I think everyone should try a Twinkie at least once in their life. Be prepared for the sugar "rush."

  13. hi acey, twinkies are unforgettable. believe me, you would remember. think you're better off with the vitamin c syrup:)

    Hi Selba, they were once a favorite lunch box treat. I think they are not as popular because they are made with tons of artificial ingredients.

    They are soooo...good Jan, really really sweet though and filled with ever so bad ingredients.

  14. Hi Kathy,
    Another "child" of the GREAT depression.

    Hi Kyla, Me either!!!!

    You know Janet, I had completely forgotten about those incidents. Sno Balls, Mallomars, Twinkies, alas, those days are coming to an end. I'm not much of a junk food eater anyway, thank goodness:)

  15. I don't think they are difficult to make at home, tigerfish. Do you have Woman's Day magazine by you? Rochelle said the latest issue of Woman's Day has a recipe for making them at home, and Snowballs too! Bascially, they are a cream filled sponge cake. At home you can make them from more nutritious ingredients! Thanks for dropping in!!!

    Hi Rochelle,
    Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I will check it out. I posted a recipe for Snowballs from Chocolatier magazine a while back. They looked like the "real" thing and as you say, easier to keep track of what's going inside!

  16. I keep meaning to buy some twinkies -- I also haven't had one in years, but loved them when I was a child and they were an unusual, rare treat. The lawyers who dreamed up that defense are even worse than ordinary lawyers without whom the world would be so much improved!

  17. I'm thinking about baking some Twinkies, Mae and I know a few lawyers I'd like to "bake" as well...However, thankfully there are a few I couldn't have done without...

  18. I had Twinkies as a kid in the 1960's. I wouldn't even touch one today - there are now 37 ingredients! How can something with so many artificial ingredients taste good? Will never feed them to my kids, either.....

    1. I totally agree, Anon but I must admit, I do have some fond Twinkie memories:) Thanks for dropping by...


Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise