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Hostess is Closing and We're All Better Off

The Twinkie (and its cousins) may be no more...

The top news stories of November 2012 to this point are:

  • President Obama's re-election.
  • David Petraeus sending a message to men everywhere (Don't cheat; if the head of the CIA can't get away with it, what makes you think you can?).
  • Hostess is going out of business.

For Massachusetts pot smokers who supported Question 3, this has to be a huge and ill-timed blow to their upcoming munchies; a cloud with no silver lining.

I don't even remember the last time I ate a Twinkie. I'm no health food nut, but I gave up processed cake-like treats long ago, and haven't had a craving since.

But, back in the day, I was a confectionery connoisseur, consuming more than my fare share of treats that came packaged with crinkly plastic packaging and thin cardboard.

Some are better than others.

Twinkies are actually horrible. They don't have much taste. They smell better than they taste. You can actually feel your teeth rotting as you chew them. While most foods break down in your mouth as you chew, Twinkies just eventually dissolve, which could have something to do with their being 99.99999% processed sugar.

In the ealy '80s, I had a brief daliance with Suzy Q's. I remember their being so sugary that as I chewed, I could actually feel the grains of sugar in the frosting crunching between my teeth. There was more substance to Suzy Q's than Twinkies, and they actually tasted like something.

I ate Devil Dogs, though, looking back, I'm not quite sure why. The chocolate cake was chocolate in name only. They tasted like cardboard, and I had to drink about a gallon of milk just to get it down. 

The Drake's Duck was always up in the corner of the box, and I remember wondering why anyone would want to eat anything baked by a duck. Not that it stopped me.

For me, the Hostess Cupcake reigned supreme. The cake - delicate and chocolatey. The filling - delicious, and never too much, but just enough. And the frosting - oh, that frosting. Sometimes I'd peel it off, and eat the rest of the cake before saving the best for last.

I'd try to take tiny bites of the cupcakes, making them last as long as I could. That would usually last for about three bites.

I'd sometimes try to have just one in the twin-pack and save the other for later. That rarely worked. As the oldest of five kids in a house, tasty treats didn't last long, and odds of cupcake number two still being available later were slim to none.

We outgrow many things in life. I suppose I just outgrew these nutrion-free, fat-producing mounds of deliciousness. I met the news of Hostess going out of business with indifference. I just feel for the people losing their jobs more than anything else.

But it makes me wonder, will I outgrow things I enjoy now? In 20 years, will I look back and say, "Ah, I remember those days when I so enjoyed a pint of Guinness. I guess I just outgrew it."

I don't see that happening ever, ever in a billion years or 100 billion pints (whatever comes first), but stranger things have  happened. I can't think of any off the top of my head, but I'm sure there's something.

So, I raise a pint in memory of the Twinkie and its friends. Rest in peace, and I'm sure those produced 10 years ago will still taste fresh to someone who finds a dusty box on a back shelf 10 years from now.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Marty Kaye November 17, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Hey Jon, how about the 18 thousand plus workers who are now without a job. Do you really think this is good news for them? Eating any of the Hostess products is a CHOICE that should be made by the consumer. Not having a job was a poor decision between management and union workers. Sorry if I don't share your enthusiasm about the demise of Hostess Bakeries.
Jon McGrath November 17, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Hi, Marty. You may have missed the part of the fourth paragraph from the bottom: "I met the news of Hostess going out of business with indifference. I just feel for the people losing their jobs more than anything else." I've been out of work. I know what it's like. I'd suggest you read the whole post before commenting next time.
Milford Senior Man November 18, 2012 at 02:42 PM
I'll bet another company will buy the recipe and name and start making those snacks again. I loved them when I was young but haven't had them for years. Snowballs was my favorite Hostess snack.
Andy Koenigsberg November 18, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Hostess Cupcakes were my favorite . . . My son and I got a big laugh out of the scene in Ghost Rider 2 where the demon whose touch could wither anything organic into dust (including food) was able to eat a Twinkie with no problem. I agree with Milford Senior Man - someone else will buy the "intellectual property" and start production again.
The Troll of Northborough November 18, 2012 at 04:15 PM
what seems to be missing here is how a "union" has the power to close a company. Hostess made it clear, we're hurting, profits are in the red, we cant give raises, we can cut staff and lower wages and keep thousands employed or close our doors. Union officials in the name of workers chose to stand ground and let the factory close. this is one of the many reasons I feel unions are out dated, its not 1920 anymore, we have osha and many other watch guard facility’s in place now, Its time for white-collar mob run unions to pack up and go the way of tommy guns and zoot suits.
Matt November 18, 2012 at 08:35 PM
How about the huge raise the CEO gave himself, would that be something that should be addressed?
C&P November 19, 2012 at 03:25 AM
How about: Homepride Butter top wheat bread Beefsteak Rye & Pumpernickle WONDER BREAD Nissen Products I was at the store today.....these breads are ALL gone....all baked by Hostess Brands. Check out the CEO's Resume.....he was with Worldcom, and a number of other companies on life support.....till he killed them for good......
Mike November 19, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Hostess Twinkies, Snowballs, Devil Dogs were magic in a wrapper. They were a generational treat handed down from our grandparents and then maybe to our children (depending on your age). You could drive by the Wonderbread factory and smell bread baking on any given day. Hostess was one of the few companies with a factory store where you could drive to, eyeball your treats and take them home to share. They came in a package of two so you could share. You ate them with a relative or a friend. For me, they are a symbol of shared times. I'll miss seeing the wrappers, in many ways the displays were a bit of a photo album from younger days.
Mark Cain November 19, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Oh Magoo..........Unions have done it again!
Cheryl Tully Stoll November 20, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Part of the problem that Hostess faces is that their distribution system has had a shift from school cafeterias where the audience was captive and the lunches were horrible, to gas stations where you can also purchase a variety of other things. School lunches are getting healthier and junk options fewer. Additionally, Hostess used to do A LOT of advertising on television. You don't see that anymore and it can't be helping the brand. The majority of discussion I've heard is from adults 40+ who loved the products as a kid (myself included) but rarely eat them today. I had a "fix" about a month ago. The product isn't what it used to be and hasn't been for years, so attracting new customers is going to be even more difficult. I'm sure someone will pick up the license for some of the products, but if they don't sell better than the competition they will lose their shelf space in a heartbeat.
Jim O'Connor November 20, 2012 at 09:56 PM
No. Greedy, incompetent management has done it again.. "The U.S. trustee in the bankruptcy of Hostess Brands Inc. asked a judge to take control of the company’s liquidation away from the baker of Twinkies and Wonder bread. U.S. Trustee Tracy Hope Davis today urged U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert D. Drain in White Plains, New York, to convert the case to a Chapter 7 from Chapter 11, based partly on the company’s intent to pay executive bonuses. Hostess officials “have not demonstrated that the insider bonuses are permissible,” Davis wrote in a court filing". http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-19/hostess-liquidation-needs-control-by-trustee-u-s-says.html
FindBalance November 20, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Yup, greedy mgt and greedy unions. Only problem is the mgt makes the decisions for the company (since they are the more highly skilled at that, even if they did it poorly, and they have far more professional stress and responsibilities than bakers). If the bakers don't like it, they can try being the mgrs and run the company, or not work for Hostess if they don't like the way they're compensated. Better yet, start their own bakery.
Joy Orz November 20, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Why do the unions get blamed for wanting a living wage when the CEO and top management tripled their salary in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings? The top executives will be getting $1.75 million in bonuses while the workers who spent their career at Hostess will now find themselves without retirement income. When did it become ok to reward incompetence while breaking promises to the workers who make your product? It might not be the 20's but that is the direction we are heading in.
David Nolta November 21, 2012 at 12:52 AM
The workers ARE the unions. It is a rhetorical ploy to pretend that the people who work in the factories (or, in this case, the industrial-size bakery) are somehow separate from the unions. Unions raised the standards of living in this country for the working and middle classes--they CREATED the American Middle Class, one of the GREATEST of American accomplishments and ideals--and the war of terror that short-sighted and selfish people wage on them today is a false war. It is a war of terror because it depends on the notion that if you have a job, you might lose it if you expect too much (a decent wage; the right to a share in profits such as was normal fifty years ago and has become rarer and rarer in this country over the past twenty years, as the divide between the rich and the poor expands). It is a false war because the unions ARE the workers--they are you and me, they are your firemen and your police departments and your librarians and your custodians and your teachers and your road workers and construction workers. They ARE YOU.
Greg lapworth November 21, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Suggest Jon look up definition of indifference and find another hobby.
Greg lapworth November 21, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Are all people in Mass. Socialists or just "useful idiots"?
Jon McGrath November 21, 2012 at 02:42 AM
Greg, regarding your earlier comment above, I'd suggest you look up a word before suggesting someone else do the same. One of the definitions of "indifferent" listed by Mirriam-Webster is "that does not matter one way or the other." You can look it up. I don't wish job loss on anyone, but don't care either way that the snacks are no longer available. Never did I think a walk down memory lane in the snack aisle would lead to insults, and a debate on unions and corporate greed, but, I guess with the path Patch has taken, I should have expected no different. Some things are written and just meant to be read for fun.
Greg lapworth November 21, 2012 at 04:15 AM
Indifference also means no sympathy. Now, "on your bike"!
Bob Berman November 27, 2012 at 12:20 PM
They did give raises, regularly, to their senior executives. This company died due to a strong combination of financial mismanagement and the changing eating habits of consumers.
Mark Cain November 27, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Unions spent the union dues on the Obama campaign and now they are getting what they deserve.
Ed Bertorelli November 27, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Well what's the fuss ? All these products are currently made in Canada by a different company and can be readily imported to the USA. I guess that's progress.
Mark Cain November 27, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Progress. Funny

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