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  Tuesday January 27th, 2015    

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No Hostess? (01/15/2012)
By Frances Edstrom

Wow, I thought when I read the news, Hostess cupcakes could disappear? Tell me it isn’t so!

That was the news on the Chicago Tribune web site, though, right there in black and white. Hostess Brands just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, for the second time in so many years. How can the maker of such all-American childhood staples be in financial trouble? What is this world coming to?

I have coveted Hostess Brands my entire life. When I was a little kid, I really wanted Wonder Bread for my lunch box sandwich, but my Dad bought the store brand. “But Dad,” I whined, “Wonder Bread helps build strong bodies 12 ways!”

“What 12 ways?” he asked, and I was stumped. So, no Wonder Bread. (My dad did all the grocery shopping, dragging us along on Friday nights, leaving mother at home to recover from the week.)

Then when I discovered Hostess Cupcakes, oh, what a sweet surprise. The frosting was one continuous piece of chocolate that never lost its shape and didn’t come off on the waxed paper like my mom’s frosting! The cupcake part didn’t crumble like mother’s homemade cupcakes, either. They were divine. “Dad, Dad!” we’d cry, “let’s get some Hostess Cupcakes!”

”They’re too expensive and your mother makes better cupcakes,” was always the answer. But weren’t they worth it, we thought?

“But Dad! The inventor of Hostess Cupcakes, Jimmy Dewar? He said, “Twinkies was the best darn-tootin’ idea I ever had What about that, Dad?”

“It was a good idea for him, because it made him rich,” Dad would say, ‘but it’s a bad idea for me, because it will make me poor!”

I admit I didn’t feel quite the same about Twinkies. There was something too overtly like a kitchen sponge about their bright yellow sponge cake. The sweet stuff in the middle was pretty good, but even my brother didn’t want the Twinkie after I’d eaten out the insides.

And those little bitty donuts? They tasted sort of like wax. But really, I would have welcomed them in my lunch box. Instead, we got mother’s homemade oatmeal raisin cookies, or Dad’s idea of a good cookie, which were usually impregnable ginger snaps or cookies shaped like Dutch windmills. We just couldn’t understand what he saw in them. And besides which, it was embarrassing. All that homemade stuff or cheap cookies with no brand name, when all the cool kids had Twinkies, or Hostess Cupcakes, or even the donuts.

Now here I have a confession to make. You would think coming from such a Hostess-deprived childhood, I would have vowed to be the sort of mother who would understand what children want and give it to them. But no, I turned out to be just as cheap and adult in my tastes as my father. Instead of Hostess Cupcakes or Ding Dongs or Suzy Qs, I put disgusting things like oranges and raisins and apples in their lunches. It was humiliating for them. They were forced to become glib salesmen in second grade, pressing their luckier classmates on the virtues of raisins, thereby effecting a trade. “Hey, I’’ll trade you these nice, plump, juicy raisins for that Ding Dong! Not every kid gets raisins!”

They hold it against me still. But then I don’t notice bags of sugar-loaded, never stale, brightly colored confectionaries in their kitchens, either. I suppose this bankruptcy thing is all our fault. Twenty-five million Sno-Balls are sold each year (that’ enough to make you shiver), but not to us. 


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