I hate to admit it but I have a soft spot for Twinkies.
When I first went to New York City to study theatre at NYU, I regularly went to a mediocre deli on Broadway and Waverly Place, where I often would buy some very bad coffee to go. Now it must be understood that while there were some fine Italian pastry shops that served good cappuccino in the Village, this was B.S.E. (i.e. Before the great Starbucks Expansion and the ensuing decent to very good coffee boom of it and its rivals). Thus this java had the taste of what one would imagine what edible gasoline and milk would taste like. This was true New York deli coffee served in those famous blue and white coffee cups with ancient Greek icons encircling the cup. If there were sizes to order, they were small, medium or large, not grande or venti… a “regular coffee” was milk with sugar; a “dark coffee” was a little bit of milk. I ordered a “light coffee, no sugar.” It was immensely important to specify the “no sugar” – otherwise the default was 2 heaping, overflowing teaspoons of sucrose. I have never been one to add sugar to hide the bitterness of the bean, but instead crave something sweet to contrast that bitterness.
That sweetness was Twinkies.
Obviously, if I could get a good pastry or a decent bagel, I would, but at this deli nothing surpassed the packaged yellow sponge cake filled with “creme” in taste bud goodness.
I heard on the radio (KPCC) that of the 36 ingredients only two are plant or animal based: there is only a smidgen of flour and 1/500th of an egg per Twinkie. So, they may get hard but they will never rot. I’m very tempted to buy one and save it for a future time when I’m in the need for hygenerated nostalgia.