Is the end in sight for an American tradition?


Light a candle. Engage yourself in meditation or take to prayer. If you have a lucky rabbit’s foot, rub it now. This is one of those all-hands-on-deck situations, and it will take a collective effort to fend off the horrors that await.

Hostess filed for bankruptcy.

That’s right, the company that brought us such culinary delights as Ding Dongs, Twinkies and HoHos filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York that it is challenged by labor costs, escalating prices and scrumptious goodness. Fine, that last part might not have been included in the New York Times story I came across, but it probably should have been.

GOP candidates, you want to pound your fists on podiums and discuss consistent attacks on the “American way of life,” well, here you go. Corruption and greed in Washington are not the sources of this nation’s current slide — those have been around long before any of us landed on this rock, and will continue forth regardless of who leads us into the future. And, no, it’s not the Mexicans coming in and taking our jobs, any more than it was the Italians, Irish or Chinese that came before them.

It’s the attack on the Twinkie that has forever dented our way of life.

I’m not exposing any secrets by saying that there has been an increased emphasis on nutritional values in this country. We deplore preservatives by nature, fast food restaurants are publicizing the nutritional contents of their meals and parents are shielding their children from all the joys of our own childhoods, like starched chewing gum in baseball card packs, food dyes and drinking out of garden hoses.

Phyllis Grant is the author of the food blog Dash & Bella, and she was recently quoted in the New York Times about her own love affair with Twinkies and Ding Dongs when she was a kid, but believes “there’s a generational difference now. My kids are begging for double chocolate chunk cookies and frappuccinos.”

Though I roll my eyes at this suggestion, as well as fear for the future, she thinks it’s a good thing. “I’m glad these horrors haven’t entered my kids’ bodies,” she said.

Look around, people. A lot of kids today are pretty large. Maybe it’s the frappuccinos and gourmet cookies, or maybe it’s the sedentary lifestyle kids are practicing. Either way, for a nation that has collectively joined together in moral outrage at all the junk that is in much of our food, we are raising some chunky children.

Obviously, I’m joking around a bit at my outrage over the slow demise of the Twinkie. There is hardly anything redeeming at all about the snack food, outside of Woody Harrelson’s hilarious fascination with them in the movie “Zombieland” and the spongey flavor of something that you just trust in your heart would still be fresh in 2094 if that wrapper was never opened.

In fact, I’m pretty sure that my mother still has a box of a bunch of my old stuff from when I was a kid and chances are there’s an old Twinkie mixed in between my “Happy Days” lunch box and ...

But I digress.

Look, I haven’t eaten a Twinkie (that wasn’t deep-fried!) in probably 25 years. It’s not that I am filled with moral outrage over the ingredients of a Twinkie, just like I’m not looking to shut down fast-food restaurants because they serve food that makes me gain weight. We know they’re not good for us. It’s our personal decisions to eat their food or not. I just choose not to eat Twinkies anymore because my taste-buds have changed since I was 8 years old. As has my hairline. As has my waistline.

But I’m pulling for Hostess to make it through this tough time and come out on the other end vibrant and strong. They are a big part of the American way of life.