Twinkies sense & sensibility

Last weekend at a school auction dinner with a comfort food theme (meat loaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, iceberg lettuce wedge salad) the dessert options were: 1.) Pool bids among your table for a right to jockey in a "dessert dash" for a baked treat of your choice and return it to your table; 2.) A s'mores-type fudge delivered to the table; 3.) A box of 10 Twinkies.

As a kid, Twinkies were AMAZING. In teen years, I noticed that eating them was never satisfying - the dreams of a fulfilling golden-sponge cake never dreamy and never fulfilling with a bizarre burning sensation left in the throat.

In 1991, inspired by an issue of Spy magazine, I bought a box of Twinkies and: A.) Put one in a microwave for a minute (expanded slightly, smelled like burning plastic, "cream" was blackened but the cake was fine; B.) Placed a Twinkie in jar of water (swelled to 3x its size, kept its shape until I shook it then it all dissolved); C.) Left a Twinkie outside on the apartment's patio railing for the birds (birds came and investigated, never, ever ate any - the Twinkie eventually disintegrated after a few day's rain living an oblong ring of goo in its wake like a spontaneously exploded golden slug).

At this auction night, I ate a Twinkie. Almost ate all of it. I sucked out the "cream" and left some of the golden sponge cake flesh/rind on the table. Still gross. Spouse ate part of mine, too. Another relative at the table ate one. Took the remaining 8 home for the kids. Spouse said "I don't think the kids have ever had Twinkies." then mentioned to relatives "I don't know that we've ever given the kids Twinkies." Not a boast so much as giving our kids brand-name snacks is typically something we do. A statistical oddity.

Have spent the last 5 days selling the concept of eating a Twinkie to the kids as an after-snack dinner. Visions of sun-dappled moms giving their kids a treat after Wonder Bread sandwiches and Kool Aid drinks in our backyard (why aren't the dads ever sun-dappled? They're only shown as frustrated at the BBQ or fucking stuff up). "How about some Hostess treats?" Carefully blended selection of showbiz kids, also dun-dappled and in intense-gamboling mode yet quite sheveled: "Yay!" Small hands from all directions removing all selections from the dessert platter. Mom pleased, smiles at the camera and gives a head shake with a "I'm such a good provider." and "Kids LOVE cramming artificial foamy lard dollops down their gullets" look in her eyes.

Our kids have declined to eat a Twinkie each day. The expiration date is approaching (contrary to myth, they do expire) and I will happily drop all 8 of these in the garbage. My little birds are ignoring Twinkies, too.