Last Call: Why I'll Never Eat A Twinkie Again

It was the dawn of the 21st century and I was starring in a community theater production of Over The Tavern, a Catholic family comedy/drama written by Tom Dudzick set in 1950s Buffalo. It's a family dysfunction tale, any community theater's bread and butter: two sparring parents and four children, each with their own travails. I had the role of Annie, a teenage girl balancing the many demands of teenage girlhood, including budding hormones and a warped body image. I loved Annie and sympathized with her biggest secret: she's been running up her family's grocery tab buying Twinkies and eating them alone in her room, a snack she doesn't have to share with anyone, and one that makes her feel less like her family is struggling financially.

In a scene that always brought the house down, Annie sits on her bed, unwrapping a new pack of Twinkies like a treasure. She takes her first bite and savors it—just before her mother enters the room unexpectedly to pick up dirty laundry. Annie stuffs the entire Twinkie two-pack into her mouth and looks up with innocent eyes and chipmunk cheeks at a thoroughly unconvinced Mrs. Pazinski, who finds the Twinkie wrapper under Annie's pillow and whisks it out of the room without a word.

Unfortunately, Annie stays onstage for the entire next scene, meaning that, ahem, discarding the half-chewed Twinkies into the trash was not a possibility for her portrayer. Every night and twice on Saturdays, I stayed in character, sadly chewing and swallowing the gluey mass of too-sweet snack cake in its entirety, awaiting the moment I could down a glass of questionable prop water in the family dinner scene.

You can imagine how Twinkies would lose their appeal after that. The next time I took so much as a bite was last autumn's taste test of the new seasonal flavors, and at least those were different enough from the classic product that a few bites could be tolerated before the wave of sensory memories returned. But it might be another decade or so until it's worth testing those waters again. And at least I have a good story to tell, because the reasons we don't eat certain foods are almost always more interesting than the reasons we do.

Recommended

Advertisement