Taste Test: Banana Split Creme Oreos And Banana Twinkies

Due to popular demand and the fact that we love
trying weird foods and candies, The A.V. Club
will now regularly
feature "Taste Tests." Feel free to suggest disgusting and/or
delicious new edibles for future installments: E-mail us at
tastetest@theonion.com.

Banana Split Creme Oreos

Banana Twinkies

Okay, kids. Gather round, settle down, stop
punching each other and bitching about what we left out of this week's
Inventory
and arguing over who posted to it first, and I'll tell you all a
story of the Before-Time, the Magical Long-Ago when men were men and sheep were
scared, dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and all Twinkies were banana-flavored.

Seriously, they were. Twinkies were introduced
back in 1930, the invention of an enterprising baker who wanted to get his
money's worth out of specialty pans that were normally only used when
strawberries were in season. Bananas proved easier to come by in the
off-season, at least for a while. Or as The Washington Post put it in a 2005
retrospective, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Twinkie: "Back then, James Dewar, manager of Chicago's Continental
Bakery, wanted to find another use for his company's shortcake pans. He decided
to fill the small, oblong cakes with a banana-cream filling and name them after
the 'Twinkle Toe' shoes he saw advertised on a billboard in St. Louis. Banana
cream-filled Twinkies—selling two for a nickel—debuted as part of
the Hostess baked-goods line. During World War II, when there was a banana
shortage, the filling flavor changed to vanilla."

So basically, unless you're a senior
citizen who was around in the Banana Era, your whole Twinkie-eating life has
been a lie. (If you are a senior citizen, then your life has only been a
lie since World War II. But chances are good that you feel that way anyway.)
We've been robbed of our proper banana heritage, and inferior vanilla Twinkies
have been pawned off as the real thing for some 60 years. But take heart...
banana-filled Twinkies are back. Hostess re-introduced them last year in a
limited-edition run, and sales skyrocketed, so now they're back on the shelves
"permanently." Meaning, of course, however long they continue to bring in the
bucks.

Nabisco has no such historical
precedent/excuse for its new limited-edition "Banana Split Creme" Oreos, which
fill the venerable crispy sandwich cookie with foamy banana-flavored
bright-yellow stuff. But presumably they don't need an excuse to make a cookie
so addictive that Josh Modell makes me keep them on my desk so he has to
actually get up and leave the office to get them, rather than just snarfing
down the whole box in private. In theory, this minor exercise barrier has been
cutting down on his Banana Split Creme Oreos consumption. In practice, I think
if there were anything like real bananas in these things (the ingredients list
indicates only tasty, tasty chemicals, which suggests that if Nabisco had just
introduced them in the '30s, they would have made it through the war just fine,
recipe intact and unadulterated), Josh would have denuded the Nicaraguan banana
plantations by now. In cookie form.

Taste: There was a great deal of mocking of Banana Split
Creme Oreos among the editors, who noted that the packaging prominently
promises "cremey" banana flavor, and also that "banana split creme" seems like
a pretty ambitious title for an artificially bananaed-up lard cookie. That
said, they did turn out to be more sundae-flavored than expected. The usual
firm disc of Oreo filling has been replaced by a soft, gooshy material with the
light, whipped consistency of cake frosting. It does actually taste like a
mixture of whipped cream, bananas, and sugar. The filling is so soft that the
usual Oreo "twist, separate, and lick" maneuver (yes, yes, kids, get it out of
your systems, we'll continue once you stop tittering... oh dear, I said "tit,"
didn't I? Sigh.) is even easier than usual. Also, if you just squeeze the two
cookies together, the filling squooshes out on all sides and can be eaten
separately. Some Oreo aficionados openly wished that regular Oreo filling was
this soft and sweet. And make no mistake, it's crazy sweet, like only a froth
of sugar and sweet banana could possibly be. The taste is overwhelming and
artificial—even the inside of the package smells like banana esters were
poured into the plastic cookie separators. It's tasty nonetheless. While many
tasters were unenthused, the roughly 50 percent of the office that liked them really
liked
them, returning to the package over and over for more. In a Taste Test first,
the A.V. Club Tasting
Labs bought another package of them for the office the day after the first one
was opened and scarfed down.

Banana Twinkies, surprisingly, proved to be a lot
milder. They're filled with banana cream, but the cake part has an unmistakable
banana flavor too, whether it's suffused in from the filling or baked into the
cake. But either way, it's relatively subtle, more a strong hint of banana than
an overwhelming wash of it. Banana Oreos taste like BANANA!!! oreos. Banana
Twinkies taste like Twinkies. With some banana. And less sticky-sweet fake-O
banana at that. (The ingredients note that they contain "less than 2% banana
pulp," but even if the makers just waved a bunch of bananas in the direction of
the batter vats, that's still closer than Banana Oreos got.)

Office reactions:

Banana Split Creme Oreos

— "It tastes like a really
dense banana marshmallow between cookies."

— "These are really delicious. I could eat the
whole box right now."

— "The filling really IS 'cremey.' Compress the
cookies, and it all glorps out. Normal Oreos don't do that."

— "It's got a strong artificial
banana smell and taste, but it's so sugary and smooth. These are to bananas
what Reeses Whips are to peanuts."

— "I might
actually like these better than original Oreos, which scares me a little."

— "The banana is pretty
artificial-tasting, but the chocolate taste of Oreos is also kinda artificial,
so it works. Please note, artificial-tasting does not always equal bad in the
case of snack foods."

— "The banana
flavor is nice—very artificial, but not super-heavy."

— "I can't recall
a special-flavored Oreo that's been bad. They do it right."

— "It's like
the 99 Bananas of Oreoes—like shitty flavored alcohol. You like it at first, but the
taste gets old after the first 15 minutes, and it will give you horrible
gut-rot the next morning."

— "It's like a
softer version of the marshmallow Circus Peanut, sandwiched between chocolatey
cookies."

— "The
frosting won't stay put between the cookies. It really wants to slide out."

— "[Enthusiastic,
mouth-full thumbs-up gesture.]"

— "Those are
really good. I just became a fan."

— "Like pizza,
all banana-flavored foodstuffs basically taste the same. I'm not really getting
the 'sundae' part; it just tastes like creamy artificial bananas."

— "It tastes
like a gummy marshmallow. With banana smell somehow coming out of it."

— "I think the chocolate
cookies conflict with the banana."

— "It doesn't really taste
much like anything to me." "Are you kidding? It's chockfull of
artificial banana fakeness."

— "A totally decent
variation, the kind of specialty candy you could eat during Easter without
feeling weird about it."

— "Really pretty good. But why bother
to fuck with it? The original's perfect."

Banana Twinkies

— [After some overall reluctance to
eat an entire Twinkie.] "You can share this Twinkie if you don't want a whole
one." "Man, you guys are Twinkie pussies!"

— [Same group of people.] "It's just a
hint of banana in the Twinkie. The Twinkie is way better than the Oreos."
"You see? They said I was mad!"

— "Uck. Still, not half as bad as half
the crap we usually eat."

— "Oreos could learn a thing or two about
subtlety from Hostess."

— "Twinkies taste like the plastic
wrap that vending-machine muffins come in. This one just tastes like it was used
to wrap a banana-nut muffin."

— "I think this is way
better than the Oreo. How is it that a Twinkie, of all things, tastes less artificial
than an Oreo?"

— "The banana flavor is
much less overpowering, and thus slightly more organic. Slightly."

— "I just imagine some
sad individual trying to decide whether to eat a Twinkie or some fruit. Now
there's a way to do both, kinda. Thanks, Hostess!"

— "I imagined a Twinkie
with mushed-up bananas inside, but they've wisely focused the banana flavoring
in the cake. Point! The finish is weirdly drier than a proper Twinkie,
however."

— "Whoa, it
tastes really banana-y at first. The filling actually tastes like real banana
bread."

— "If you had handed me
the Twinkie without telling me it was banana, I would have thought they just
changed the normal filling slightly. It's not that strongly flavored."

— "I don't really like
Twinkies to begin with, so I'm not the best judge, but I'd put these at 'okay.'
The banana flavor is really, really subtle—too subtle for my liking. I
need lots more banana flavor than this to justify eating a whole Twinkie."

— "It tastes like aspartame. Which is
funny, because it should taste like animal fat, given what's in it."

— "It's very—subtle isn't not
the right word, but it isn't overpowering. It has a burning quality to it, a
sort of chemical harshness in your throat."

— "It's not as good as regular
Twinkies, but it's all right."

— "It's so mild that it makes me
wonder if there's a little banana flavor in normal Twinkies."

— "Basically tastes like a Twinkie.
There's a slight banana taste reminiscent of the pre-packaged muffins you get
at the counters in convenience stores. Unfortunately, the nuts and bread have
been removed in favor of a disgusting white paste leaking out of three holes in
the bottom."

— "These are basically banana-flavored
death rolls."

— "Hey, not bad! I was expecting
to hate this. Maybe I like Twinkies after all. It's much less
artificial-tasting than I expected. If you served this at a fancy restaurant,
in a less recognizable shape, I think you'd get away with it."

Where to get 'em: Grocery stores, Wal-Mart,
random convenience stores, etc.

Recommended

Advertisement