Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Farewell Hostess cakes! I will miss you; I think even the super healthy, snack-hating people will miss you. You were Childhood, all wrapped up in plastic. You were the most coveted item a child could tote in their lunchbox. You were a status symbol. You were envied. You were.....

Simply yummy.

Once upon a time in the town I grew up in there was a little Bakery Outlet. I think it was for Dolly Madison foods and Orowheat breads. Going in there was such a treat! But never for the stale bread; I loved going there for only one thing: Zingers.

Though Twinkies and Ding Dongs, Sno-Balls, cupcakes and Suzi Q cakes were always delicious and something I wouldn't turn down, the snack I loved the most was Zingers. Not sure it it was the frosting or that it seemed to contain more creamy filling than the Hostess varieties of Twinkies, Ding Dongs, etc, but I LOVED Zingers. My favorite was the Vanilla cake, followed by Raspberry, and then the Chocolate, but they were all amazing. I nearly cherished these cakes, slowly eating them in a very ritualized, systematic way. But something happened and the little bakery outlet seemed to no longer sell Zingers. I had to move onto something else.

Ho Hos.

In high school I discovered a bit of freedom: the freedom of purchasing whatever I wanted for lunch. I never sat in the cafeteria; I always hid out in a band practice room or with some nerd upperclassmen who ate lunch in a classroom with a chess board. I've never learned how to play chess but for whatever reason they welcomed me. I'd go stand in line in the snack area and about 90% of my 4 years of high school I ate the same thing every day: Ho Ho's and a can of Diet Coke. Nothing else. No "healthy" hamburger, or salad or slice of pizza. Just the Ho-Hos, washed down with the best soft drink ever: Diet Coke.  (and when I did deviate from the Ho-Ho's it was to eat french fries with nacho cheese on 'em).

The proper way to eat a Ho Ho is to take all the outer chocolate off. Then, you unfurl the rolled up cake layers with all the cream on it and S-L-O-W-L-Y tear off small bits of it to eat. This makes it last longer. And the best part of  Ho-Hos?  Unlike Twinkies or Cupcakes, it came with 3 cakes, not just 2. It was perfect. I don't think my parents knew that I ate such a lunch for four years, and even when I went away to college it was a favorite.

I slowly moved away from solely eating Ho-Ho's and diet coke. But then a few years ago I rediscovered Zingers. The Raspberry ones were the most rare and difficult to find. I wonder if it is because it was the least favorite of folks. Because it really didn't taste anything like raspberry. Or even coconut. It tasted like chemicals, but in such a sweet, good way. And because it was completely covered by the coconut, the inside cake seemed even more moist than those of the Vanilla and Chocolate varieties. And the Raspberry ones didn't go as perfectly with the Diet Coke like the other two varieties did.

They say someone will resurrect the brand of Twinkies and Ding Dongs. That's good, but my hope is that Zingers will once again find their way on supermarket shelves. Or, if not Zingers, please keep Ho-Hos. Yes, these cakes are everything that is wrong with society and a balanced diet and all that, but it is also Childhood. The carefree days where you could eat a 3 pack of Ho-Ho's and not even be concerned.

Farewell, my sweet, delicious snack cakes! My kids will never know you as I did. And that's probably a good thing. But I will miss you.

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