Saturday, November 17, 2012


Day 16 - Write a post inspired by a picture

There is nothing about this Hostess Fruit Pie that is remotely related to health. Or good health, anyway. But this is not going to be a diatribe about corn syrup-sweetened, saturated fat laden, deep fat fried (I assume), sugar-coated calorie bombs. (The first ingredient listed was, however, blackberries. See? Real Fruit Filling.)

This is not a post about my questionable decision to eat a 470 calorie fruit pie for dessert after I've already exceeded a reasonable calorie consumption for the day. I didn't buy it myself or anything. I succumbed to peer pressure and ate it.

So what is it about? I's about my ambivalence over the announced closure of the Hostess brands company after more than a hundred years in business. I am sort of pissed that the company has laid all the blame for the closure on the union strike and inability to settle wage and pension issues. I am pretty sure that there were a lot of factors along the road to bankruptcy. That whole issue leaves a bad taste in my mouth (so to speak).

There are certainly plenty of bakery products in the world to take to take the place of Hostess treats. There are certainly better donuts, cakes and cupcakes, and pies to be found in the world. Of course there are some Hostess products that have no real world counterpart...for example, the Snowball, ding dong, ho ho, and of course Twinkie.

I think most people have some childhood memory of Hostess treats. I fear that they were frequently sold in schools. I remember getting packages of donettes with my friends. (Six little donuts in a package!) I liked the chocolate covered ones. My sister was partial to the powdered sugar kind.

I remember having ho hos and ding dongs at our beach cabin in the summer. Back then each piece was wrapped in foil. For either one, the preferred method of eating was to peel off the chocolate coating, then eat the chocolate sponge cake and creamy filling. It was fun, but was it memorably delicious? No. I remember the experience more than the taste.

My mother was one of the people out buying commemorative ho hos today. Rod ran into her at the store and he ended up getting the fruit pies for us. He thought they were sweeter than he remembered. Of course, he probably hasn't had one for thirty years. We agreed they couldn't compare with real marionberry pie from Haggens. Although you do have to give Hostess credit for making a blackberry pie. It's certainly not the most common kind of flavor.

As I said, I'm feeling ambivalent about all this, so I can't decide where I'm really going. A tirade about the contribution of Hostess to childhood (and adult) obesity? Well, there are certainly other products to fill the void, and I'm not sure if Hostess can take too much of the credit.

On the other hand, I don't feel especially bereft either. I know that I would prefer to find my indulgences in treats that are a little less mass produced. Hostess cupcakes are a little superfluous in a world with specialty cupcake shops springing up in every town. And let's not even talk about how unnecessary Wonder Bread is (another product from the company).

I stopped here on Friday night because I couldn't think of a good way to finish. I figured I could wrap it up on Saturday.

At lunch today (Saturday) Rod said he looked for Ding Dongs at the store this morning. A clerk told him that all the Hostess stuff was wiped out yesterday. It is amazing to me that the announcement of Hostess closing led to such a massive flood of buying. What is everyone going to do with all this stuff? Parcel it out over the years, given that Hostess has such a reputation of a long shelf life? (Note, our fruit pies had a freshness date of only a few weeks from now.)

There's always a feeling of regret when a long-standing business goes under. Of course I feel bad for all the workers who have lost their jobs. There is nostalgia for a product that has been around seemingly forever. But life will go on without Hostess Twinkies. My life won't be impacted one bit, in fact. The flurry of excitement that sent people to the stores will fade away, and eventually Hostess cakes will just be something you remember fondly from childhood.

Unless, of course, another company buys the Hostess brand products and brings back the Twinkie. What then, people who have packed your basements with precious Hostess goodies? What will you do with your Twinkies then?

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