I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of a friend this morning. I struggle to imagine what my life would have been like without him. High school would have been close to intolerable. The friend is someone you may also know. His name is “Twinkie the Kid”.

I fondly recall the parties my friends and I had in high-school. They weren’t your typical high school parties. We were the nerds so we did things a little differently. We had what we used to call, “Ho-Ho Parties”. Everyone invited to the party would bring their own box of Hostess snack cakes and a six-pack of their favorite caffeinated beverage. Some of us preferred Ho-Hos, but I fell into the group that was Twinkie fan. That golden sponge cake, the gooey creamy filling…irresistible.

I used to joke that Twinkies were actually the ultimate health food because they contained all four food groups (back in day when there were such a thing as food groups). The flour was your grain group; the cream filling was the dairy products group; the animal shortening was the meat group; and the fruit and vegetables group was represented by corn syrup and soybean oil. According the Twinkies Wikipedia page the official list of ingredients are: Enriched wheat flour, sugar, corn syrup, niacin, water, high fructose corn syrup, vegetable and/or animal shortening – containing one or more of partially hydrogenated soybean, cottonseed and canola oil, and beef fat, dextrose, whole eggs, modified corn starch, cellulose gum, whey, leavenings (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), salt, cornstarch, corn flour, corn syrup, solids, mono and diglycerides, soy lecithin, polysorbate 60, dextrin, calcium caseinate, sodium stearoyl lactylate, wheat gluten, calcium sulphate, natural and artificial flavors, caramel color, yellow #5, red #40. Yummy! Sometimes I regret not becoming a food scientist. Think about it…Your job is to invent food. Awesome!

Twinkies have a long history (having first been invented in 1930). People even deep-fried them, and they became an instant hit at the Texas state fair and at ballparks across the nation. Sadly, I will have to live with the regret that I was never able to savor one of these magical delicacies. I was however able to share a wonderful Twinkie treat with my daughter. One of all-time favorite musicians “Weird Al” introduced me to the Twinkie Wiener Sandwich. You take a Twinkie and turn it upside down, cut it down the middle lengthwise so that it resembles a hot dog bun. Then place a cooked hot dog in the sliced Twinkie and top the whole thing off with a generous helping of Eazy Cheese. It is a taste that your taste buds will never forget. An explosion of mouth-watering goodness.  My daughter absolutely loved them.

Twinkies even had their day in court when a defendant claimed that he was not in a right state of mind when he committed the crimes because of his increased consumption of junk food. Although Twinkies were never specifically mentioned, famed newspaper columnist Herb Cain dubbed this the Twinkie Defense.

The shelf life of Twinkies is legendary. I even recall having buried a couple myself with the hope of returning one day and digging them up to see how well preserved they still were. If only I could find that treasure map to their locations. The movie Wall-E even has a still-wrapped well-preserved Twinkie on the shelf in Wall-E’s trailer. Look for it next time.

So my friend, I am sad to see you go. You led a rich life and touched the hearts of millions of people. Lives were changed because you were on this planet. I count myself lucky to have known you. I know that I will see you on the other side. God Speed Twinkie the Kid.

James Kennedy

VCE Chemistry Teacher at Haileybury, Australia


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