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Requiem for a Twinkie

April 1, 2011

Ok, here is what happened today.

I thought it might be a good idea to write a cute little note about healthy snacks for kids. So I started with this title, because I LOVED Twinkies and ate lots of them as a child, and also because they represent the ultimate junk food masquerading as a harmless little “cake” (yes, in quotes).  I don’t think they are available in Lebanon, which is just as well.

The crazy thing is, once I started Googling ‘twinkie’ today just for fun, I found out that not only does it have THIRTY-NINE ingredients, but it’s even the subject of an entire book called Twinkie, Deconstructed, and all kinds of other seriously scary stuff !

Here are the ingredients in each Twinkie:

Visual Ingredients Copyright © 2011 All Rights Reserved

Now that I actually know what’s in it, I probably will never eat one again.

Farewell, fair Twinkie, I loved you once…

Of course by this point the whole issue of processed food has me distracted, (my husband will be rolling his eyes, there she goes again….) and it has completely hijacked my post. I really wanted to sound all Martha Stewart with ideas for dried fruits and roasted nuts that I make at home (I do..) but now I’m just going to sound like a crazy hippie mom.

I’m not that person, really.

Our kids eat junk sometimes, chocolate and ice cream and UFOs – unidentified frosted objects –  at birthday parties which turn their mouths blue. And I laugh and take pictures and try not to make a big deal of it, (I do…but is it a bad thing that our daughter knows the words ‘food colouring’ by the age of 4? Actually she says ‘colouring food’….).

But MOST of the time, most of the time when it comes to treats,we manage to limit their intake to actual food. Cakes, pudding, popsicles made at home, where we know what’s going into them, or snacks that don’t need a lab to reverse-engineer them; raisins, kaak, nuts, fruit, Hello! (No, I don’t make my own kaak, are you kidding, but if you wanted to, you could).

There is something so welcoming about walking into a house where there is appetizing food just laying out for you to help yourself. The last time I went home to Jeddah, I went over (hungry) to my Aunt Reema’s house, and she had the most delicious tray of snacks on her coffee table …I practically ate the entire tray by myself.

I tried to recreate it today. I roasted some raw almonds in the oven at a low heat until they turned golden, then pitted a bunch of dates and did the same with them. When the sugar in the dates started to caramelize and give off a really yummy sweet smell, I left them in for a few more minutes and took them out to cool. They come out a bit chewy and crunchy on the edges.

SO delicious and the kids love them.  Ah, now there’s a Martha Moment.


P.S. I plan to post a page of books that I’m reading / have read about the production and processing of food soon, but not today. Check back : – )

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2011 2:44 pm

    Hello and glad to meet you and your blog! Fun and interesting content and will be back to explore some more.

  2. Susan Lee permalink
    April 1, 2011 4:12 pm

    Yup. I heard an interview with the author of the book “Twinkie Deconstructed” and he said he discovered that not only are there lots of artificial chemicals and flavors in them, but that “Flammable and carcinogenic benzene, for example, plays a major role in the extremely complicated set of chemical reactions that yield the artificial flavouring vanillin.” Scary!

  3. Lemalou permalink
    April 1, 2011 7:43 pm

    Twinkie so scary… but so yummy.

  4. April 2, 2011 12:09 am

    Ah yes, the evil Twinkie!
    I used to alternate between Twinkies and Ding Dongs as a child (ok, ok, maybe as an adolescent as well!).
    Sometimes had the Ho Hos … never liked the pink fluffy Sno Balls …
    … Someone over at Hostess had lots of fun coming up with those names!

    Cut to my current “healthy” eating habits, and the realization that my sweet tooth can be much more satisfyingly appeased through non-toxic channels.

    Case in point, my discovery of Sarah Majid, http://www.sarahmagid.com , organic baker in Brooklyn, when i spied her book at Anthropologie (my favorite store in the world. yes, the whole world).
    And her signature dessert just happens to be golden twinkies – Organic dark chocolate twinkie cakes, covered in gold powder no less!
    http://gothamist.com/2008/04/09/affordable_gold.php

    More on her recipes here:
    http://www.designspongeonline.com/2009/06/in-the-kitchen-with-sarah-magid.html

  5. Maria permalink
    April 8, 2011 10:31 am

    Great post, Hana!! Loved it AND the fact that many of us new- generation moms (with all respect to our mommies and the great job they did), who are working and lead super-busy lives, are going back to the basics and thinking ‘home-made’… I think (and hope!) that just the fact that we’re raising this awareness in our kids will help them make healthier choices in our kids…

    Keep them coming!!

  6. Maria permalink
    April 8, 2011 10:33 am

    * i meant “healthier choices in the future” 🙂

Trackbacks

  1. Twinkies Are Back on the Shelves.. Why You Should Stay the F* Away! | The Organic Beauty

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