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Twinkie Trivia: Iconic Junk Food Has an Interesting History

Patch takes a look at the history of the snack cake marketed as 'Golden Sponge Cake with Creamy Filling,' which features 39 ingredients, including minute amounts of rocks and glue.

 

The Hostess Twinkie made its debut in Chicago in 1930. Until World War II, the Twinkie was filled with banana flavoring. A banana shortage during the war forced a change to vanilla filling, which persists to today.

Here are some more interesting facts about the Twinkie garnered from a variety of sources:

  • It became famous in the late 1970's in a San Francisco murder trial. Dan White, accused of murdering San Francisco Mayor George Mosconi and Supervisor Harvey Milk, claimed that eating junk food such as Twinkies helped cause a change in his behavior and made him more aggressive. His lawyer claimed that White's consumption of Twinkies should be a mitigating factor. A public uproar followed White's light sentence for murder, and the "Twinkie Defense" was born.
  • A Twinkie is 68 percent air!
  • Following the announcement of the imminent bankruptcy of Hostess, EBay entrepreneurs started selling them online. One vendor had an opening bid of $200,000 for one box last weekend!
  • The Twinkies Cookbook went on sale in 2006. It contains a multitude of recipes, including one on how to use Twinkies to stuff your Thanksgiving turkey!
  • At peak production, Hostess was turning out over 500 million Twinkies a year-- about 1,000 a minute!
  • The original price for a package of Twinkies was two for a nickel.
  • Even though the shelf life of a Twinkie is 25 days, a teacher from Blue Hill, Maine kept a package of Twinkies atop his blackboard for 30 years. The Twinkies were described as brittle but edible after he retired.
  • Lewis Browning, a retired 89 year old milk truck driver from suburban Indianapolis, has appeared on the Jay Leno Show. Lewis has eaten at least 1 Twinkie a day for over 60 years--over 25,000! Could Twinkies explain Lew's longevity?
  • Each Twinkie has about 150 calories.
  • Each Twinkie has about 39 ingredients, including minute amounts of rocks, glue, and petroleum!
  • Ever hear of "Twinkiegate?" A Minneapolis councilman named George Belair gave Twinkies to a senior citizens' group in 1985 while campaigning for office. He was indicted for bribery; eventually, the charges were dropped. The incident did, however, lead to campaign reform laws in Minnesota.

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