Memoirs of a Gen X snacker turned mother

I was having one of my especially apathetic parenting moments and when the children asked me if they could do something (I don’t know what it was, I wasn’t paying attention), I said, “whatever floats your boat. Whatever creams your Twinkie.”
I fully realize that the second line of that sentence is not the most commonly used version of that phrase. I actually thought it was something the fellow Girl Scouts of Troop 1166 made up about 20 years ago, but a quick trip to the Internet tells me it’s more than just crazy tent talk. It’s an actual saying. That said, it’s still not frequently used and I’d guess that most people haven’t heard of it.
Therefore I wasn’t surprised when my kids gave me that look—the one that says “you know, we actually do listen to you sometimes, and that didn’t make any sense.” It didn’t take me long to realize just what they were confused about:
My. Children. Have. Never. Eaten. A. Twinkie.
When I figured this out, my mouth hung open and a little drool came out because I was thinking of course about that golden sponge cake with the creamy filling, and how, when you eat it, you’ve got to take precaution so that the creamy filling doesn’t squirt out the back and leave you with a dirty shirt and an empty Twinkie…
But back to reality. What kind of mother have I been to have been harboring my children from such an American staple their entire lives? With a combined age of 12, my two older children should have consumed hundreds of Twinkies by now, let alone HoHos, Snowballs, and those chocolate cupcakes with the swirly white frosting on the top. Those are the snacks that practically built Generation X! We all packed them in our lunches and ate them after school. The introduction of the singly wrapped snack cake had our mothers dancing in the kitchen as they packed our brown bag lunches with ease. Or at least I know mine did… or that I would have.
So without further adieu, I put Twinkies on the top of my shopping list. I told the children about the wonderful little inside out cakes with the frosting on the inside (what a concept!) and their happy yellow color. I was giddy with nostalgia as I recalled my childhood days with manufactured foods. Being more of HoHo girl, I hid them in the back of the freezer so that my dad wouldn’t eat them and so that I could peel off the chocolaty coating and go straight for the chocolate cake inside. Oh, the glory! Oh, the delight! Oh, the delicate perfection of the snack cake!
Why, oh, why have I been keeping these from my children? I was trying to do the right thing. “Processed foods are bad,” they tell us. “High fructose corn syrup is virtually poison.” “White sugar bad, white flour bad, must have sugar substitutes and whole wheat flour.” These things are drilled into my head every time I open a magazine or flip on daytime television.
But forget it all. No health benefit can match the pure processed bliss I remember as a child.
Racing through the store, overly anxious to finally reveal what I have been keeping from my children for so very long, I found the Twinkies under a glow of radiant light. I chose my box and rushed home to share the wealth of happy yellow cake, ready to gift unto them an entirely new world of cuisine that had, until this day, not existed. Something so new and so radical, something so fantastically delicious that surely it would change their world forever.
The crinkle of the cellophane wrappers…
The smoosh of the cake between tiny teeth…
“Yeah, it’s okaaay,” said one.
“I give it a thumbs in the middle” said the other.
I hung my head in denial, but maybe, just maybe, kids are different these days. Maybe they don’t have the palates that we used to have. Maybe they actually prefer real homemade treats. Or HoHos.
Hey, whatever floats your boat. Whatever creams your Twinkie.


Chris said…
You MUST make this your article some time - it is sooo funny!

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