Chaos in Aisle One (Our Hunt for the Last Hostess Twinkie)

 So the kids and I were driving home from school today when we overheard a radio DJ mention how sad it was that the Hostess company was going out of business.

“What?” I shrieked at the radio. “No more Ho Ho’s? No more Twinkies?”

From the backseat, my 8yo asked, “Mom, what’s a Twinkie?”

“WHAT?” I shriek again. And well, okay, it shouldn’t have shocked me that my youngest child has never even tasted a Twinkie, since I am kind of a crunchy granola health nut who never buys such crud for my kids to eat. But the thing is, my childhood was very, very different. Back in the day, I ate many Twinkies, Ding-Dongs, crème-filled cupcakes, and my personal favorite, coconut-crusted SnoBalls. My diet was a childhood wonderland of sugary, spongy deliciousness. In fact, during my unfortunate teenage years, when I was lucky to have an apple to eat for lunch, I considered it a lucky day if I could mooch enough change from my friends to buy a 60-cent package of Hostess Ho Hos. Zero nutritional value, but hey, it was better than starvation.

After the radio announcement, I was overwhelmed with nostalgia. Although I had not eaten a single Hostess product in the past two decades, I had a sudden urge to hunt down what may well be the world’s last package of Hostess Twinkies and split them with my deprived children.

We raced over to the nearest Raley’s Supermarket, where I grabbed the arm of the nearest store clerk. “Please,” I sobbed, “Twinkies…must have Twinkies!” The store clerk gave us a sympathetic look and pointed toward aisle one, which had all the chaos and panic of food shortage, with a crush of customers frantically clearing the shelves of every remaining Hostess product.

Okay, fine, none of that actually happened. But we did find a practically empty shelf, with no Hostess products remaining except for a bunch of Zingers. Yuck, Zingers. The next three supermarkets yielded similar results, although we did manage to score a box of Ho Hos and  some crème-filled cupcakes.

“Have you ever seen the movie, Zombieland?” the checkout bagger asked us. “It’s about these people who go on a mission to hunt down the last existing Twinkie in America.”

My mouth dropped open. Wow, a prophetic B-movie! Of course, now I must see that film, although it is probably super-lame. But here I was, dragging my kids from store to store across three towns, desperately trying to find one remaining Twinkie. Alas, we did not. I am sure that the last of the scrumptious golden Hostess icons are probably, as I write, up for auction on EBay for twenty times the original cost. How depressing.

Once we were home, the kids and a couple of neighborhood friends ripped open the boxes, made a farewell toast to the Hostess company, and stuffed ourselves with crème-filled, cakey, frosting covered goodies. To be fair, they tasted about as good as a B-movie full of zombies. But my kids danced around in the autumn leaves, munching Ho Hos, transported to a childhood wonderland of sugary, spongy deliciousness. Thank you, Hostess, for one last wonderful memory.