I may be permanently scarred by my culinary exposure during the early 1970s. I had a mom who purchased carob chips and made her own bread. These days, I can really appreciate the benefits of all those organic fruits and veggies and animal proteins that were never mistreated or force-fed a hormone cocktail. But back then, I just wanted to be normal and get sandwiches made out of bread guaranteed to make me as wonderful as the next Geranimal-wearing kid.
My food wish-list was short: Apple Jacks, Twinkies, OREOs, Wonderbread, and a tv-dinner. I watched tv, so I knew there was this yummy world out there not made available to myself via my healthy-food-loving, peace-sign throwing mother. But I knew better than to really complain – she’d just make me stir the rennet into another vat of whole milk if I did. So I would just stare longingly at my classmates’ lunches over the crusts of my whole wheat, buck wheat, “that’ll keep you regular” wheat bread sandwiches. At least she didn’t send me head cheese after that one vomiting session.
So, imagine my amazement the time my mother succumbed to my pleading and picked up a box of Twinkies. Unwrapping that sweet little fat-filled sugar-bomb cake was like Christmas, birthdays, and Flag day all rolled in one. I probably drooled a bit in anticipation. As you can imagine, this girl was in pig-heaven. You would thought I’d never had granulated sugar before. And to be fair, I’d never had it quite like that before.
I was busily licking every bit off the wrapper when my mom reached over and took one. Thinking back, I’m pretty sure her hand was shaking just as badly as the time she asked me to get rid of all her cigarettes and I took her request a bit too seriously. I smiled like a fellow drug-addict as she took a bite. And then promptly decided my mother was insane.
“Yuck. These taste nothing like they did when I was a kid” and she threw the rest away.
Fast forward many years. My oldest sees a Shrek festooned box of Twinkies at the store and begs for them. Much begging from me ensues as I try to dissuade him. Finally, I capitulate and buy the dang things knowing full well that if the child won’t eat a fresh from the oven, chocolate chip cookie, a Twinkie is not going to be on his list of tastiness.
“Yuck. That’s disgusting!”
Thankfully, they are well preserved, so 5 months later I just tossed the rest of the box’s contents in the Halloween bucket with the rest of the candy and got rid of them. But not after eating one myself. And you know what I thought?
“Yuck. These taste nothing like they did when I was a kid.”
So, do me a favor and go eat one of the dang things. In fact, it could be a Twinkie, Ho-Ho, Zinger, Snow-ball, ‘Bama Pecan Pie, whatever. Take a bite and see if the primary taste isn’t something way more like the plastic wrapper that covered it than any tasty goodness you were hoping to savor.
You see, the trouble with Twinkies is that the anticipation far out-shines the consumption; this is especially true if you’ve been cutting back on your dietary intake of preservatives in favor of things like whole-wheat, buck-wheat, “that’ll keep you regular” real food.