Three hundred and sixty-five days ago*, Twinkies were resurrected from the catacombs of financial bankruptcy and reappeared on retailer’s shelves throughout America.
We were Twinkie-less for eight months while the new owners fired loyal Twinkie bakers, packers, drivers and scads of other support people dedicated to years of uninterrupted Twinkies in America.
Those pesky union workers allegedly strangled all the profits from the spongy little yellow cake with the gloppy white chemical filling.
Now that Twinkie has been trimmed of “human fat,” it is now delivered more expediently and cheaper than its original.
And, thanks to “better living through chemistry,” the shelf life of the new and improved Twinkie is ten times longer (originally 3-4 days versus 45 days) which is a huge plus to the bottom line of this re-born American icon.
Twinkie is more than just a “sweet cake.” The Twinkie also spawned its own economic theory, “Twinkie-ization.” In 1994 Ad Age used the term Twinkie-ization to describe the rising number of middleclass consumers who were able to afford small luxuries. Twinkies symbolized this desperate urge by the middleclass to consume great American products like Coke, Pepsi, Kellogg cereals … and Twinkies.
To paraphrase one ad exec, “…anyone with a mouth can enjoy food. You need electricity to enjoy new electronics. And you need gas to enjoy a car.”
Twinkies had become a food as well as a global economic theory.
To celebrate Twinkies return from the dead, I think I’ll venture to my neighboring grocery or convenience store and buy my first “born again” Twinkie. With any luck, I’ll see the Virgin Mary or maybe even Jesus baked into my cake – or perhaps outlined in the creamy fluffy filling.
One can only hope.
*Written on July 15, 2014, Twinkies Rebirthday