April 6 has been set aside as National Twinkie Day. Wikipedia tells us that Alexander Dewar, a baker for the Continental Baking Company, created Twinkies in 1930. “Realizing that several machines used to make cream-filled strawberry shortcake sat idle when strawberries were out of season, Dewar conceived a snack cake filled with banana cream, which he dubbed the Twinkie.” The banana cream was soon replaced by vanilla, and the new snack cakes were a hit. Though they are full of preservatives, the company calls it a myth that Twinkies have an indefinite shelf life. However, you can read about a 40-year old Twinkie in Maine. The report done by the Chicago Tribune is here. One of the more interesting things I found while looking for information on Twinkies, is this old commercial from Howdy Doody, from the 1950s.
But the real reason I wanted to mark this day is that one of the very earliest pages on the Web was about experiments run on Twinkies by some students (who obviously had too much time on their hands!) at the University of Maryland. The Twinkie Tests consist of Exposure, Radiation, Extreme Force, Extreme Cold, Extreme Heat, and Immersion. I really encourage you to read the page. It’s silly and very funny.
Reading through the tests again after several years brought back memories of those early days online when the height of excitement was the fish cam. It actually consisted of still pictures taken at intervals, and I don’t think the original is in operation anymore, but you can see a beautiful one of tropical fish swimming peacefully here. One of my favorite early pages was Sad Mr. Wu’s Send a Pickle. The page still existed when I first found it, but it was out of business even then. Apparently, the market for mailing pickles was not great!
And finally, if you need some joy in your day, check out one of these pages. The Doo Wop Horses is an interactive page where a quartet of horses sings. You can vary which one(s) are singing by clicking on each one separately. And I mustn’t miss the Random Pig Generator, which answers the question “Can pig fly?” They are Sandra Boynton pigs, so are, of course, amusing to watch.
Quotes about Twinkies
“Fried twinkies?” Paris nodded. Only once, I’ve never forgotten the experience. It’s like heaven in your mouth, man.–Gena Showalter
We are entertained, not nurtured. We are given Twinkies for our mind, things that amuse but do not enlighten. It tickles our taste buds, but it does not enrich us.–James Rozoff
She had a heart like a Twinkie, full of oversweet goo, yes, a real junk-food heart.–Jean Thompson
It feels like … spurious art to me, the spiritual equivalent of junk food; it may look like an éclair, but it’s really a Twinkie.–Nancy M. Malone
The best way to catch my attention is to throw a Twinkie near my face.–Patrick Carney
Once you change, change happens. This is a big lesson. Expecting someone else to change is like pleading with a manufacturer to turn Twinkies into a green smoothie.–Sadiqua Hamdan
I love Twinkies, and the reason I am saying that is because we are all supposed to think of reasons to live.–Stephen Chbosky
Somewhere between beef jerky and Hostess Twinkies is the secret history of America.–Tom Robbins
Real Programmers don’t eat quiche. They eat Twinkies and Szechwan food.–unknown
Advertising is selling Twinkies to adults.–Donald R. Vance
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