Monday, October 7, 2013

Forbidden Fruit, or You can't Go Home Again

As a child, I longed for Twinkies. They called to me from tv ads and from the shelf of the grocery store, the corner store, and the Lawson's Dairy store. They were beautiful, spongey, and golden. And they had creme filling! Twinkies were the object of my desire because my mother had declared them to be "unadulterated crud" and would not buy them.

At some point during those years I finally had the Twinkie experience. My memory tells me, so far removed from the event, that they were every bit as delicious as I had hoped. I can't recall if I indulged in them clandestinely, or whether my mother relented. I just know it was heavenly, but I don't think this experience was repeated with any frequency.

Then, as a young parent, I turned to Twinkies at a time when I was sleep-deprived and depressed. Carefree childhood was calling, I guess. This time they let me down. They were oily and sugary, almost inedible. How could I have changed so much? Or had they?

Yesterday I saw a package of Twinkies on the shelf at Walgreens. I thought of childhood, and I thought of Dennis, and I thought about how Twinkies had gone away and were resurrected. So I decided eat some for old times' sake. I ate them in the car on the way home because I felt a little silly about it.

Oh, Twinkies. What has happened to your magic? The first one was sweet but gummy, with a flavor reminiscent of pencil erasers. Not vile, but more an impersonation of a food than an actual food. I ate the second one in disbelief, hoping my first impression was wrong. Alas: mild, gummy, tasteless.

One could do a major scientific study on this topic alone: have my tastes changed over the years, or has the Hostess company changed the ingredients in the Twinkie to a point that, although they may look the same, they have lost the true Twinkieness of their essence? I don't think anyone will, however. But it would be interesting, wouldn't it?


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