Suddenly products that had so prospered by their artificiality lost their allure. Even Hostess, which blamed this week’s shutdown mostly on a labor dispute that hobbled its facilities, has acknowledged that consumer concern about health and food quality changed the game. People just weren’t buying snack cakes like they used to.
So what would we lose if Twinkies really did go away? From a culinary standpoint and from a nutritional standpoint, it’s hard to love the Twinkie (or pretty much any Hostess product). It’s hard not to wonder how the American diet, the American palate, would be different if the parents of the ‘50s hadn’t begun a cycle of turning to processed packages as the de facto snack of childhood.
And does nostalgia alone justify the continuation of something so patently bad for us?
Of course nostalgia, even irony, taste awfully good.
And I notice that a growing number of — dare I say it — artisanal bakeries are going retro, creating their own inspired takes on classic processed snack cakes. Treats like red velvet “twinkies” made with real ingredients. So perhaps it isn’t time for Twinkies to go away. Or to stay the same. Maybe it’s time for them to go back to their roots. And then, we lose nothing.