My kids have just tried Twinkies for the first time.
Had it been up to me they would not have been trying them at all but Mr Pict is a sucker for the kids’ “take me home from the pound’ eyes so when the 4 year old wanted to put a box of Twinkies in the shopping trolley (because minions were promoting them) he succumbed. The box then sat on the shelf for over a month, which isn’t a problem because I’m pretty sure Twinkies are one of the things that will survive nuclear annihilation.
I had my first Twinkie in the summer of 1995. I had never been to America before so my husband and his friends were eager to introduce me to all sorts of new things. One friend decided to pick out a whole cornucopia of “treats” for me to try at a 7/11. We then went to a park where, as dusk turned to dark, I also watched my first fireflies sparkle among the trees. That was magical. What came next was not. The Twinkie was proffered, I took a large bite and almost gagged.
I’m Scottish so I have a sweet tooth. Loving sugary things is part of my cultural inheritance. But the Twinkie was artificially sweet and cloyingly so. I don’t think I have tasted anything as dreadfully chemical as that before of since (though my first-and-last sip of Mountain Dew comes close). It was just vile. And it squeezed and squelched down my gullet like shaving foam. My gag reflex was activated. Biting into the sponge was also not a pleasing sensation either as it felt like I was sinking my teeth into rubber foam or carpet. Or both. If sponge cakes grew on trees, the Twinkie tree would only be found growing in Chernobyl. Grotesque.
Yet here I am now allowing my kids to try a Twinkie each. The edible sins of the mother are visited on her sons.
They loved them.
I so wanted them to agree with me that they were vile. Instead they used adjectives like “creamy” and didn’t mean “as in shaving”. All four said they were “awesome”. I wasn’t mishearing the word awful. They actually meant awesome. And not in the way that the power of the atomic bomb is awesome. To them awesome is a superlative positive.
So to mitigate against my failure as a mother – the fact that my kids have, at best, questionable palates – I am going to ensure that no Twinkies every darken my doorstep again. Not even ones with cute characters on the packaging.