10 Twinkie Facts for the Great Return

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BILL GREENBLATT/UPI/Landov

They're calling it The Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever—"they" being the marketing folks behind the resurrection of Twinkies. The future of Twinkies looks a lot brighter than it did last November, when Hostess declared bankruptcy. Now that the famous sponge cake is returning to shelves, let's look back to the glory days.

1. Twinkies were invented because a bakery manager named James Dewar wanted to get more use out of his shortcake pans. He noticed that he was only pulling those particular pans out of his cupboard during the summer strawberry season and wondered if he was really getting enough bang for his buck out of them. The Continental Baking Company where he was employed was looking for a new, cheap snack to satisfy Depression-Era buyers without emptying their pockets, so Dewar combined the neglected shortcake pans with a recipe that was cheap to make and came up with the Twinkie.

2. Back in those days, Twinkies were sold two for five cents...

3. ...which was a good price if Dewar wanted to buy his own creation in a store, because he never saw a penny of royalties from inventing the Twinkie or naming them. They were named after he spotted a billboard advertising "Twinkle Toe Shoes."

4. Forget hoarding. Despite that persistent urban legend, Twinkies do have a shelf life. Previously, Hostess said you shouldn't eat one after it's been sitting around for 25 days. But under new management, things are different! The new shelf life is 45 days, according to TIME, and the new owners are willing to freeze Twinkies for about 10% of retailers, to allow stores to alter the expiration dates.

5. But you're still not going to want to eat the one the Clintons put in the Millennium Time Capsule in 1999. It's scheduled to be opened in 2100.

6. The Twinkie originally had a banana cream filling instead of the vanilla cream we know and love today. Bananas became scarce during WWII, so Hostess made a substitution. Vanilla cream was so popular they decided to make it a mainstay.

7. Love Twinkies? You're in good company. Archie Bunker did too; his famous temper flared up whenever Edith forgot to put one in his lunchbox. And Tallahassee from Zombieland was perpetually on the hunt for the cream-filled spongecakes. When he finally finds his Holy Grail at the end of the movie, he gleefully sinks his teeth into it... but in real life, Woody Harrelson wouldn't eat a real Twinkie. He's a vegan and Twinkies do contain eggs and beef fat. Vegan Twinkies had to be made for the scene.

8. Deep-fried Twinkies are terrible for you, but they're delightful. You can get pretty much anything deep-fried on a stick at the Iowa State Fair and I think I have tried most of them. The Mars Bar is good, the HoHos are decent, Oreos are only so-so. But the Twinkie? The deep-fried Twinkie is like biting into a little slice of batter-covered heaven.

9. Do you remember Twinkie the Kid? The official mascot could wrangle you up a Twinkie in the blink of an eye. He had some lesser-known Hostess cohorts including Captain Cupcake, Happy Ho Ho, and Fruit Pie the Magician.

10. These new Twinkies are for the bros. "We want to go beyond just the loyal fans to some of those people who should be fans," said Dave Lubeck, EVP of Bernstein-Rien, which created the new advertising campaign, in an interview with TIME. "So we’re really trying to move beyond the grocery store consumers into the convenience store target, which is a younger male."

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Is anyone rushing out to get Twinkies today? Or are Twinkies mostly just something people like to talk about on the Internet?

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July 15, 2013 - 8:08am
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