Today it was announced that Hostess is closing its doors, the grocery stores shelves will be absent another childhood memory. Gone are the sweet treats purchased by Dad at some out of the way gas station on Sunday drives through the Michigan country side. Gone will be the lesson, a rite of passage if you will, of standing in the school cafeteria line faced with the choice all teenagers must face, will it be the plastic wrapped sugar high or the school lunch which contained food sources of unknown origins. Missing from the back seat of your first car the empty wrappers of long ago devoured Dolly Madison cakes eaten on the way home after a long soccer practice. Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Snow Balls will no longer be seen as a quick fix to the hunger program that used to strike us at 3 a.m. after a long night out while on the way back to the dorm.
Wonder Bread, oh Wonder Bread, crusts on or crust off, rolled and squashed into squares and or balls of doughy, puffy goodness. Nothing flew a more accurate path than Wonder Bread when hurled at a sibling over morning breakfast. Served with Peanut Butter and Jelly stuffed into brown bags for those long day trips to some museum or factory where some poor kid with a healthy minded Mom would beg you to trade. On those days you were home sick from school grilled with American cheese to simple perfection by a Mom who made you feel like you were the only person in the world that mattered, was there ever a better meal?
Lost will be the smell coming from their small town commercial bakeries, where bleached flour, sugar and chemicals none of us could articulate were being blended, molded and cooked into tasty treats that had shelve lives longer than human life spans. Lost will be the clutter that gathers along the side of empty city streets, and in that clutter there smiling up at us would be Dolly, gently reminding us of simpler times and pleasures.
Hostess closes its doors after years of producing something that, for good or bad, helped define Americana. I haven't eaten one of their products in recent or distant memory but I wanted to share a friend's take because growing up in the Midwest his comments resonate with me.