10 Things You Didn't Know About Twinkies, Ho Hos and Other Hostess Products
If you're a fan of Hostess Twinkies, today is a day to celebrate the return of your beloved sponge cakes. For everybody else, it's Monday.
But whether you eat Twinkies or not, you can't deny the impact Hostess products have had on our culture. Those delectable cupcakes, Swiss rolls and fruit pies have filled us with sugar and fat for more than 80 years, so naturally, we're always going to have a soft spot in our hearts (and a hard part in our arteries) for those scrumptious, satisfying sweets.
That said, we figured it was the perfect time to shove a hefty serving of knowledge about these treats down your throats.
#1. Twinkies were originally banana flavored. In 1930, Twinkie inventor James Alexander Dewar was managing the Continental Baking Company in Chicago — later a part of Hostess Brands — when he got the idea to use the bakery's strawberry shortcake molds to make a new treat. (The molds were going unused at the time, as strawberries were out of season.) He injected the cakes with a sugary banana filling, and that's how they were sold until a banana shortage during World War II forced the company to switch to a creamy vanilla filling in the mid-'40s.
#2. Some sources say that President Bill Clinton included Twinkies in the 1999 National Millennium Time Capsule, but this isn't true. The high school students who submitted this idea (along with a package of Twinkies) wanted the cakes included in the capsule as they represented "an enduring American icon," but the National Archives decided against it for fear of attracting vermin. Staffers at the offices of the White House Millennium Council ate the Twinkies instead.
#3. When he wasn't killing zombies with blunt objects, Woody Harrelson's character in the 2009 film "Zombieland" was always on the hunt for Twinkies. In real life, however, the actor is a vegan, and won't consume the treats. "I'm not a Twinkie lover," he stated shortly after the film premiered. "I don't do sugar or dairy either," he continued. "When we finally shot my Twinkie-eating scene in the movie, they had to give me a specially made mock Twinkie made of cornmeal. It could spur a healthy Twinkie revolution."
#4. On the 50th "birthday" of the Twinkie, the Continental Baking Company celebrated by crafting a 10-foot-long Twinkie weighing more than a ton, or the equivalent of about 32,300 individual cakes.
#5. Many popular Hostess cakes were advertised with their very own mascots, including the bandana-wearing Twinkie the Kid, the sea-faring Captain Cupcake, the Robin Hood-esque Happy Ho Ho, the ghost-busting Fruit Pie the Magician, the benevolent King Ding Dong, and a reptile/cake hybrid named Chauncey Chocodile.
#6. Hostess fans on the West Coast may be more familiar with Chocodiles, which are essentially chocolate-covered Twinkies. Sometime in the '90s, Hostess limited the distribution of this confection on the East Coast, but savvy internet resellers began to fill the demand on sites such as eBay, with prices sometimes reaching up to $20 for a single Chocodile.
#7. In 1985, a candidate running for the Minneapolis City Council was indicted by a grand jury for serving Twinkies, among other refreshments, to groups of elderly potential voters. The charges were dropped, but the incident prompted lawmakers to pass a "fair campaign act," informally known as "the Twinkie law."
#8. According to a spokesman for Hostess, there are seven loops of white icing, or "squiggles," on every single Hostess CupCake. This flourish was added to the CupCakes by Hostess executive Doc Rice in 1950, which is also the year they began stuffing the CupCakes with a creamy filling. (For the 31 years prior to this, the product was simply a piece of chocolate cake with chocolate icing.)
#9. A former Twinkie factory in Toledo, Ohio, now houses the world's largest book store, Zubal Books. Some pipes that run along the walls of the shop still contain un-aerated Twinkie filling from 1989, which chef and television personality Anthony Bourdain tasted on his "No Reservations" program during a visit to the bookseller in 2007. "It's Twinkilicious," he remarked.
#10. Competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi holds the Guinness World Record for the most Twinkies consumed in one minute. He performed the feat on "The Wendy Williams Show" in 2012, downing 14 of the cakes in 60 seconds. (Amateur "gurgitators" on YouTube have eaten more, but Kobayashi was subject to the Guinness World Record guidelines, which prohibited him from eating more than one Twinkie at a time and required him to display his empty mouth to a judge between each swallowed cake.)