Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hostess Files for Bankruptcy. I Have Questions.

Hostess Brands announced today it has filed for bankruptcy protection. The New York Times reports that Hostess's woes are related to "a debt load of about $860 million and soaring expenses tied to its labor force."

The news has raised many questions for me.

1. Will the lawyers representing Hostess in bankruptcy court refer to the case as "the Twinkie defense"?

2. Is Hostess a Southern company? For some reason, I suspected it was. Turns out the company is based in Irving, Texas. ("Is Texas really Southern?" is a larger, more complicated question for another time.)

3. Has the company been outmaneuvered by Little Debby? Sidelined by Sarah Lee? (This reminds me of a joke. A friends of ours, fretting about his pot belly, wondered what he should call "the twins." I suggested "Little Debby" and "Sarah Lee.")

4. What's really eating the maker of such confections as Ding Dongs, Ho Hos, and Twinkies? Personally, I think the world may be moving on. After all, how do you maintain a sense of dignity when asking a store clerk, "Excuse me, where are the Ding Dongs?"

Also, as tasty as a Hostess cupcake may be, there are far superior products readily available to consumers. In San Francisco, we have cupcuke trucks that tweet their current location. A bakery in my neighborhood, Noe Valley Bakery, makes delicious Hostess-inspired delicacies they call Most-est cupcakes. They even sell them in bite-sized versions. Both are addicting and, dare I say, may be partially to blame for the post-holiday birth of my own twins, which, in the spirit of Dr. Seuss, I have named "Thing 1" and "Thing 2."

5. Don't forget that Hostess also makes Wonder bread. Does anyone eat white bread anymore? (The Wall Street Journal reports that 36 percent of Americans ate white bread in their homes, down from 54 percent in 2000. But seriously, who are these people?)

6. Would you care if there were no longer Ding Dongs, Ho Hos, and Hostess cupcakes in existence? I have many sugar addictions--Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Cheerwine soft drinks, dark chocolate M&Ms, to name but a few. However, Hostess products aren't among my recurring vices and never have been.

7. An even bigger question: Which caloric sweets could you absolutely not live without and why? And if you've, um, acknowledged your own twins, what have you named them?

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  1. I could not live in a world without the HoHo.

  2. I do not eat the stuff anymore - white bread or the cakes (there are 39 ingredients in Twinkies...). But lots of people do, and the last think we want is more unemployed. I'm rooting for the company to survive.

  3. I had a turkey stuffing made from butter and cubed Wonder Bread, and I definitely could feel my body growing twelve ways. As for the twins...different twins perhaps...I dunno. Flapjack and Spanky?

  4. My tastes run high brow, snickers.....although there is nothing quite as tasty as a fresh young Twinkie...

    Anyway, maybe a high fiber Ho Ho or protein rich Little Debbie might appeal to the new healthy American

  5. OMGosh...I hope my mom doesn't hear about this. I best stock up on the Twinkies. My mom has a Twinkie every single morning with her coffee before she heads off to daily Mass. If for some reason there are no Twinkie's she will opt for a slice of Lemon Pudding Cake. I look at these items and at her Pecan Sandies and Oreos and Lay's Potato Chips and YES Wonder Bread and just get the chills that she would eat all those CARBS! I gain weight just watching her eat them. This is not good news! But with all those preservatives I can probably stock up on Twinkies and they will last forever.

  6. Never really cared for HoHos, Twinkies, DingDongs, or all those sugary items. However, I do recall eating Wonder bread as a kid . . . something about those iconic red and blue dots on the white plastic.

    I'm not surprised with the surge in obesity and people eating better that Hostess is having trouble; although to be truthful, would anyone eat a "skinny" Twinkie?

    But the silver lining here is that it's Chapter 11 and not going out of business for now. I mean, for example, Chapter 11 reorganization has saved many a KMart until recently.

  7. My vice is anything 'cake'. You may hold the icing, the cream and any other sticky bit that would denote as extras or decoration on cake. I simply enjoy the 'cake' in cake.
    As for the twins? I call one Left and the other Right. (I know, not very original of me)