by Chrysa Smith

Follow the money.

That seems to be the best advice any side of a situation. Because even behind this innocent looking dessert treat, is a paper trail that stretches miles.

Personally, as a New Yorker, I grew up on Drake’s Cakes—Yodels, Ring Dings, Yankee Doodles–oh, and their scrumptious Coconut Cookies. Twinkies never graced my lips–even till today. But yet, I am sad. There’s another American tradition that is as much nostalgic as it is sugar overload, threatening extinction. But this time, there aren’t changing taste buds or digital gadgets to blame. It’s not slacking sales. Purely, it’s boardroom deals, union contracts, rising costs—-the ugly stuff behind the yummy. And what a shame.

Twinkies are officially 82 years old. They survived WWII, the Civil Rights Movement, the Millenium, lots of bad fashion eras and bad press (Stories of mega preservatives, unhealthy ingredients and remember the Twinkie murder alibi?) Originally born under the Continental Foods Brand, it was spun off, along with its recipe, under the Hostess name. History claims that the mini cake with vanilla filling was an evolution based on a banana shortage during WWII—because banana cream was the original filling. OK, maybe taste buds did change a bit–for the better, I’d say. Officianados say that the packaging keeps the cakes preserved more than any ingredients do–and they do have a shelf life of under 30 days. Who would have thought?

Luckily, Twinkie lovers have risen to the occasion, desperately trying to find a way to keep a little, innocent cake on the shelves and in the tummies of overweight Americans. Whether they succeed or not is one story, but for those who love their nostalgic treat, death is not the end. Thanks to the efforts from some imaginative baby-boomer chefs, regardless of business wheelings and dealings, you can preserve the Twinkie history in your own kitchen. Check out the recipe at: