Overheard on CNN.com: Twinkie apocalypse averted, for time being
Twinkie maker Hostess has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Our commenters shared memories and opinions about the treats.
January 12th, 2012
07:08 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Twinkie apocalypse averted, for time being

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Tallahassee: " There's a box of Twinkies in that grocery store. Not just any box of Twinkies, the last box of Twinkies that anyone will enjoy in the whole universe. Believe it or not, Twinkies have an expiration date. Some day very soon, life's little Twinkie gauge is gonna go ... empty.'

IT HAS BEGUN!"

phfyrebyrd: "The same thought popped into my head when I heard the news. My condolences, Tallahassee. ;)

Whether wrapped in plastic or fried at fairs, the humble Twinkie is the elongated pastry that pleases. CNN.com's intrepid foodies have been following the story of Hostess Brands' Chapter 11 bankruptcy filling, er, filing, very closely. Commenters shared their memories and thoughts about these pastries and the impending zombie Twinkie apocalypse referenced above.

Stay gold, Twinkie the Kid. Stay gold.

An informal and highly unscientific poll attached to the bottom of this Eatocracy post showed that something like 27% of the clickers had not eaten a Twinkie in years. But many others found themselves yearning for years past.

eastcoaster: "Isn't it funny that Twinkies bring back this nostalgia for our long lost childhoods where we had no idea that what we ate (quite frequently) was likely to be harmful to us. It will be interesting to see just how this translates into medical/health headlines 30 years from now. Maybe we'll all be surprised with, 'Gen Xers are the most healthy generation despite the tremendous amount of junk food consumed in the in their early years!' Then we'll bring back the Twinkies..."

You get to growing up and all that stuff ...

TheLeftCoast: "Taste buds actually evolve. I grew up in the Midwest, and I ate junk food, which tasted great at that time. Now, just the thought of a slice of Velveeta (or a Twinkie) makes me nauseous."

Ken in NC: "Twinkies were my energy food in college. Now they have become my fat food so I cut way back on them but ever so often my body requires a shot of one."

But you know, they don't make things the way they used to, or do they?

ivory: "I don't know if it's just me or if they changed the recipe at some point but twinkies aren't nearly as spongy, ooey gooey as they once were. The chocolate cupcakes are hard and dry now with very little filling. They used to be full of the cream fill. I used to love the fruit pies too. Don't have the heart to try one of those... just want to remember that they used to be tasty."

There might be a renewed interest, though.

Matt: "In the last two months I have had a Twinkie. It had probably been over a decade since I had one before that. I totally agree with the article. The Twinkie was fine. I was a little disappointed that it was not as good as I remember, but I was also relieved because I decided the excess calories are definitely not worth it."

Lee: "I had a Twinkie today actually. All this Hostess news made me nostalgic. Still tasty and worth the 150 calories."

Some people actually make their own Twinkies, like the following two commenters, and then use them as gaming currency. May the snack cake be with you.

Obie Wan Twinkie: "Twinkies are my traditional treat when I take my kids (now grown) camping. That and plenty of bacon. I take along a box of twinkies and pass them out for use as poker chips and we have a big game around the fire – lots of fun, 1/2 twinkie ante. Oh and once used one for a last minute birthday cake for my son at a restaurant."

Alliegirld: "I got a Twinkie pan for Christmas, and I'm going to make some of my own from scratch. I've tried that with a few of my favorite recipes from childhood that don't taste as good to me now, and I've been pretty pleased with the results thus far."

Others rejected the Twinkie in favor of other treats.

sharon: "I don't like Twinkies but I love, love the Raspberry Zingers. I will have to get some this weekend."

Austin: "Oatmeal cream pies are where it's at. Those deceptively named little treats were delicious as a child, and are still delicious now.

jules: "I agree...but the Oatmeal Cream Pies are actually Little Debbie. :)"

Ooooh, a smackdown.

PhllyPhan: "Tastykakes were much better than Twinkies."

Nom nom nom. I'm sorry, were we covering some news here?

William: "Twinkies ... great memories from my grade school lunchbag. Little Debbie used to have an amazing one called the Fudge Crispie that sadly vanished a decade ago."

There were actually a bunch of stories, so let's take a look at some of the other coverage. On CNNMoney, talk turned to serious things like business practices and unions.

Hostess Brands files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

The big debate was whether the cost of labor had driven up the cost of the product to the point that people no longer wanted to buy Twinkies.

Think4yourse: "I dont really care about how bad they are for you. If you are going to live life worrying about dying all the time, you might as well cut out the middle man. I havent bought a Hostess product in years because they are just too darn expensive. This is a classic example of Union employees demanding themselves out of a job. Best thing for Hostess is to close its doors and reopen under a new name with no union. Contrary to what unions will tell you, you can have competitive careers without them."

Some commenters thought the goal of the bankruptcy was to disrupt the current business model.

commentsrm: "This is a union-busting move. Come back in 6 months and Twinkies will still be on the shelves but instead of $20/hr workers they'll be made by $1/day Mexican or Asian workers. Best the "senior" execs won't lose any sleep over this. Tariff the living crap out of these damn things if they go to manufacturing elsewhere."

sammarrah: "They are perishables, I doubt that they would outsource to Asia."

juicius: "Twinkies are perishable? I thought Twinkies are what the cockroaches are going to live on once the world ends."

Was it the quality of Twinkies, perhaps?

iEvolved: "Twinkies and the rest of the snack cakes were bad enough BEFORE they started using all high fructose corn syrup and countless other chemical ingredients to save money."

Or, was it unions?

RAG66: "As much as I'd love to blame this on the teamsters, the country's taste in snacks has changed. What responsible parent would feed this crap to their child? They should have started manufacturing healthier snacks decades ago. And Wonder Bread? Really? Someone still eats that garbage?"

stagger72: "You would've been better off blaming the teamsters. You really think all of the obese in the country are eating trail mix and bean sprouts? I doubt it was a sharp decline in sales that led to the bankruptcy ..."

Some came to the defense of the unions. Some didn't.

Rose Miller: "Unions, historically, have done a lot, a lot, of good for the health and welfare of the people of America. And you're free to choose to eat sugar bombs like Twinkies or not eat them. And the drivers who deliver those goods work very hard and in all kinds of weather to make a good living for themselves and their families. There's nothing wrong with that either."

waterford1: "Unions have also bankrupt many companies including this one. And yes the consumer has a choice and they are making it loud & clear that Hostess brands cost too much. As for working hard, I think everyone does union or non union so that is not a factor."

Bad management also was suggested.

60minuteman: "Typical corporate propaganda to blame the unions for this, when it is obviously a management problem. I have never been in a union and I don't particulary "like" unions, but I understand perfectly why and how they exist. Unions are greatly responsible for the existence of the middle class. Corporations are greatly responsible for "the new poor". If I have to make a choice between corporations and unions, I believe I will stand with the unions."

Or, maybe it was just an epidemic of arrows-to-the-knee-its.

kreamowhea1: "I used to eat Twinkies all the time, until I took an arrow in the knee."

Chomp, chomp, chomp. OK, where were we? Back to the fun stuff on the food blog.

Refrain from freaking out – you'll still get your goshdarned Ding-Dongs and Twinkies

There were some harsh appraisals of the Twinkie on this narrative post written by Sara Benincasa.

Greg: "This company has contributed to the staggering rise of cardiovascular diesease and healthcare costs. I would love to see them go out of business. Pay the employees who toiled away not knowing the harm they doing to our society their pensions and shut your doors forever. Goodbye Twinkies!"

Truth™: "Well, aren't you just a little bucket of sunshine today?"

Quid Malmborg in Plano TX: "If the employees who made these atrocities didn't know how dangerous the products are it's through their own willful ignorance. In other words, they blinded themselves to reality because they needed to make money. They were complicit. But seeing as you want Hostess to go out of business you can also find jobs for the displaced workers."

A few were happy that the Twinkie was staying on.

Jul;ie @ Willow Bird Baking: "I actually am relieved! When I heard via CakeSpy they were filing for bankruptcy, I saw hundred of Twinkie uses fall right out the window before my eyes. Twinkie cakes! Twinkie pies! So, in short, yay for Twinkies! :)"

Others were thinking about the TSA's dessert policies.

Phreddy: "Oh heaven forbid Twinkies might go away! This must be some pinko, ultra-left-wing liberal plot by the evil Obama Administration to destroy the fabric, the raw root of our American way of life – maybe even our entire Western 'civilization!' Or maybe it will be one less thing the TSA screeners will have to take up at the security checkpoint (see story about explosive cupcakes).
In the words of Gene Roddenberry: 'Scotty, beam me up – there's no intelligent life on this planet!' "

Sorry Twinkie, you might want to shield your eyes.

Bill: "I actually tried to purchase a pack of twinkies at a Quick Mart a month or so ago. They cost $1.75 plus tax. In Tennessee, that's almost $2. I was absolutely shocked. When I opened them I was stunned by how tiny they were. They've made them smaller and jacked up the price. I decided I'd never buy them again. No wonder they're declaring bankruptcy. Hostess, you can only be so greedy before it backfires on you."

Jimethek: "Bill, I couldn't agree more. I worked for Hostess/Wonderbread. Upper management did nothing but steal the profits. We were in bankruptcy before and the CEO was still getting big bonuses and blaming 'high labor costs' as the reason. They tried to break the Teamster Union before. They'll end up going under. The Twinkies and Cup Cakes aren't the same formula as the past anyway. Let 'em go."

TruAmerikan: "Using that kind of logic you're going to have to stop buying pretty much of everything. A lot of products are making smaller containers and increasing the price. Check out cans of tuna. That's a real obvious one."

And it's Zinger by a nose?

Erik: "Twinkies were surpassed long ago by the mighty Zinger. If Hostess stops making Sno Balls, though, they may have a rebellion on their hands."

Mmmmm. Yes, you were saying? Whatever you end up eating, make sure you're prepared when the inevitable happens.

mikrik13: "I smell bailout. What will humans eat after the apocalypse if Twinkies are no longer. The shelf life on those bad boys are astronomical. Survivalists better start stocking up now."

That was tasty. Got some burning thoughts about Twinkies, or an awesome recipe for making a Twinkie-inspired treat? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Business • Economy • Food • Nutrition • Overheard on CNN.com
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Debbie

    Hostess cupcakes, fruit pies, Ding Dongs, Wonder Bread, and especially Twinkies evoke memories of a simplerlife in the 60s & 70s. I should have seen the end of Hostess coming when I couldn't find a Hostess Day Old bakery outlet anywhere. As for spray cheese: I use it to facilitate giving my dog medication. Don't tell the ASPCA, please.

    January 15, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • reverseangle

      If hostess didn't cheapen up it's ingredients, like half empty pies with some unknown ooze in it, maybe they would do better. People will pay for quality, I know I do, but a hostess zinger tasted like chocolate about 20 years ago, now it is just brown.

      January 16, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Shae

    One Twinkie stayed on top of a teacher's blackboard for about 30-years, turned rather brittle, but if dusted off, probably still edible. It never spoiled. So there you go, stock up while you can.

    January 17, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Margaret

    Why don't we do a Twinkies for the Troops program and send them to our military serving our country and help both out, Hostess an American Company and our wonderful American Troops. Food for thought anyone.......

    January 17, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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