Tuesday, November 20, 2012
I suppose that at this moment Twinkie lovers throughout the world are having heart palpitations at the very thought that their beloved baked delight might have made it's last appearance on store shelves. Thanks to a combination of incredible mis-management at the highest levels and greed on the part of the baker's union, a whopping 18,500 jobs are on the line at the Hostess Baking Co. I guess a judge has ordered the two sides to try to come to some kind of an agreement and thus keep the company out of bankruptcy. No doubt the magistrate lusts after Twinkies, Ho Ho's and perhaps even the chocolate cupcakes with the squiggly line on top and the luscious cream filling. I understand the panic that some folks might be feeling. How often I've passed the Hostess display and been lured in by the seductive packaging. Many a coffee break has seen me happily munching a fruit pie or a package of Snowballs. I had almost no self-discipline when confronted with the multi-pack of Ding Dongs. I bought them fully intending to spread out the consumption over the course of a week, but magically, at the end of the day, the package was reduced to a mound of empty wrappers and I was left with a ring of chocolate around my mouth; my entire body buzzing with an incredible sugar high and an intense desire to eat something healthy- as soon as there was room in my gut.
Pictured above is my first attempt at baking bread. One night when Jan and I were playing cards with the Pinards, the subject of baking came up. I make a wicked good pie crust, and Wacky cake is pretty simple, not to mention those delectable blueberry and cream muffins that I've turned out in the kitchen, but I had never baked bread before, so Gail offered to show me how. I could see right away that it was going to be a messy process. I probably should have worn an apron. Bread baking was a little spendy and time consuming too, but I was willing to give it a shot anyway. When we had gotten all the ingredients mixed together and the dough was rising in the bowls, Bob showed up. All cooks like to do things their own way, and many just view recipes as suggestions I guess. Anyway, while the bread was doing its thing, there was a disagreement between the two mentors about whether the bread should be punched down or left to rise after is was in the pan. Both were adamant that they were correct and I was left in the middle bouncing between the two opinions like a ping-pong ball at a Chinese tournament. Not wanting to offend either of my friends, we opted to punch one batch and leave the other unmolested. They both left before I pulled my masterpieces out of the oven. To the naked eye, they both looked like they had risen at the same rate. I cut into one while it was hot and slathered butter on it. Wonder bread it was not. Let me just say that it was very filling- kind of chewy and a little sticky...and heavy. Being the generous fellow I am, I gave the other loaf to my daughter Jen. She claimed her loaf was delightful.... go figure. In any event, I thought that would be my last attempt at baking bread until yesterday, when I heard about Hostess, and I got an idea. Perhaps I could add a little sugar to the recipe, hollow out the middle and fill it with cream filling and market the product as Twinkles. Of course each Twinkle would cost about twelve bucks, but look at how long they would last! Oh Botts, you're a genius. If Marie Antoinette, upon being told that the people had no bread had only remarked,"Let them eat Ding Dong's", perhaps she would have kept her head for another few years. Such is the power and the desire for our baked goodies.