Friday, November 16, 2012

Twinkies To Thailand

A 10-pack of Twinkies. Get 'em before they're gone.

Since I hail from fairly humble beginnings a Hostess cream-filled Twinkie was a rare treat, but as a small child I sure loved them. I know there are folks who grew up with their own regional junk foods, but Twinkies - and a few other Hostess baked goods - have stayed high on my list of Worst Guilty Pleasures to Consume. Dolly Madison cakes? Little Debbie cupcakes?  Feh.  Pale substitutes, at best. Hostess Cupcakes, Hostess Snoballs, HoHos and Ding-Dongs... now those were  superb junk foods.

It was joked about for years that the cream-injected sponge cake bars had a half life, and were so far removed from anything natural that they'd keep on your shelf for decades, but that was, unfortunately, merely an entertaining urban myth.

News today that the Continental Baking Company was rather abruptly throwing in the towel after 87 years has started a somewhat frenzied run on their more popular products as people learned that CBC's 33 factories across the USA are ceasing production immediately. Labor disputes are being blamed for the decision, but it's a shame that something couldn't have been worked out. The company had filed for bankruptcy protection in January.

When I read the news this morning I stopped and emailed the article to my friend in Thailand, and that, my friends, is my segue to the story of him and these soon to be gone forever treats. For privacy's sake I'll call him Top today.

Five years ago we were chatting online about some remodeling he was planning for his home. It was late in the evening there, and Top was in his office, so he was able to chat via a camera he had at his desk.

All of a sudden he stopped, looked directly into the camera and got that "I'm serious about this" look on his face; a look I rarely see, so I waited to see what was coming.  I suppose it more was more where it was coming from, and not what it was that surprised me - because it came from far left field, as we in the U.S. would say about the unexpected. I was expecting to be asked for a loan for the remodel (he's borrowed money a couple of times and always repaid it per our agreement), but that wasn't it at all.

"What are these Twinkies?" he asked, emphasizing the name.

It's probably just as well I didn't have a camera, because he was using the look that said he wouldn't have appreciated my initial surprise that gave way almost immediately to a laugh I could just barely hide.  "What?" I asked.

No change of expression. "I would like to try these Twinkies."

I was somewhat at a loss. I did my best to give him a thumbnail description of the cakes without editorializing too much, and he seemed to get that they were tasty if you liked that sort of thing, but that they were, without a doubt, in the same category as donuts, McDonald's burgers and other artery clogging items.

Although the originals had a
banana flavored filling, flavored varieties
never did much for me.
"I'll bring you some," I promised, and a month or so later I did just that.  Figuring he'd deem them far too sweet I only took one 10-pack box, knowing that the younger folks he worked with would probably like them, even if his more traditional Thai palate didn't.

The day after I landed and we'd had our usual Arrival Day dinner he took the box into work with him. When I talked to him at lunchtime I asked if he'd shared them with his co-workers. He said that evidently his co-workers were a little more "worldly" than he, because he'd left the box on his desk when he'd gone to the lavatory, shortly after arriving, and returned to see the box open and empty.  "All," he said, sounding surprised "they eat all."  This time we both laughed, and I told him they probably did him a favor by eating them for him.

I've taken him a couple of boxes each trip since. One he opens, taking several out for himself - he does like them, but isn't much for sweets - and the others he takes to share with his friends and co-workers.  Today I sent him the unhappy news that the supply was rapidly drying up.

This afternoon I boxed up what you see in today's pictures, walked them up to the post office and airmailed them to my friend.  I sure wish I was flying them there myself, but I'm guessing that he'll come up with some other off the wall item I can take when I go next Spring.

8 comments:

Was Once said...

Now, a cheap treat from Thailand to home is Farmhouse Pineapple fruit pie....15B only at 7-11 or Big C

khunbaobao said...

I'll add that one to my list, thanks! I don't allow myself too many junk food treats while I'm there - there are so many other dishes I prefer there more than variations I can get here - but I'll try these.

Don said...

FYI : http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/11/who-killed-the-twinkie.html

khunbaobao said...

Well, I don't agree 100% with Surowieckie's opinion piece there, but thanks for the link.

There may well be enough greed on both sides to bury the corporation. We'll see what happens.

krobbie said...

Thank goodness these were never imported into New Zealand (not that my family would have been able to afford such fripperies when we were young.

Having been a 28" wiast all my adult life it is with some shame I now have a waist somwhere between 30 & 31"./

I have had countless pairs of trousers and shorts made in Thailand and have have had to give all to my housemate who remains 28". Even the ones I had made not two years ago have had to move out of my wardrobe. I had kept them for when I got thin again. Alas I have decided that this is not going to happen any time soon. If it does I shall buy myself the most expensive trousers I can find. I think my money is pretty much safe the Bao-Bao.

At present I have 3 pairs of pants that fit ... all jeans. I have told my father not to bother dropping dead as I have nothing to wear to his funeral. He hooted at that.

Keith

Phil Frank said...

We don't eat stuff like that. We saw the empty shelf space in a few stores on Friday. Long time readers, first time commenting. Just wanted to say we love your stories.

khunbaobao said...

Keith - I agree. The joke about growth in middle age being of a horizontal nature can be all too true!

khunbaobao said...

Phil Frank - Since you said "we" I'm guessing that's two first names there? Welcome to both of you. Now that you've broken the ice, please join in more often!