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Sweet, Sweet Nostalgia

on February 3, 2012

I am a proud member of Generation Y, growing up in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. But I rarely think about what that means for my consumerist habits. This article caught my attention because it talked about what the Twinkie represented for the Baby Boomer generation. According to this post, Twinkies started to be made because some of the machines at the factory were only being used to make strawberry filling while the strawberries were in season. During the off-season, the machines were used to make the filling and cake part of the Twinkie.

This is mind blowing to me for two reasons:

1-      There is no such thing as “out of season” anymore.

2-      When they were first developed, they were one of a kind. This is SO not the case nowadays.

Recently I have begun to realize just how small our world really is. There is no such thing as “out of season” because somebody, somewhere is demanding and willing to pay for the cultivation of fruits and vegetables even when nature prevents it. The scientific and technological advances we have made allow us to grow food in our own towns during times of year that those foods can’t grow outside naturally. Generally, we manipulate the natural growing process through GMOs (genetically modified seeds, which might protect the food from the elements) and alternative ways of rearing plants (ie: Greenhouses). Whatever we can’t grow, we simply buy from half way around the world and have it shipped to us from another place. I went to the grocery store the other day and looked at the strawberries. It’s freezing outside. Literally. The ground is frozen. There is no possible way to grow strawberries outside right now. Nevertheless, there are strawberries on the shelves! The prices are higher than they are in the summer, and they aren’t as big or as red, but they’re still strawberries! This technology wasn’t available in the 1950s when Twinkies first came on the market. Twinkies served as a symbol of innovation because we were able to have delicious desserts despite the setback of seasonal growing.

Additionally, because of all of these technologies and an increased consumer demand for quantity, quality and variety, Twinkies are no longer the favorite sweet treat. We have so many options, it’s unreal. You could have Twinkies. Or you could have one of hundreds of other similar products. Not hungry for a pastry? There are also probably a hundred varieties of chips or snacking foods. Or a hundred kinds of cereal. Or ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet. I won’t continue (partly because there are too many to list and partly because it’s almost dinner time and continuing will just make me want to eat junk food) but seriously, we have SO many options! And frankly, there are a lot of lower calorie, better tasting snacks and desserts out there than the Twinkie. The result: food culture just isn’t what it used to be.


One response to “Sweet, Sweet Nostalgia

  1. SHS says:

    Funny, I never thought of you as a Gen Y girl, but I guess you are. Twinkies were never my favorite. I was always a yodel girl. Nice title, by the way.

    Boomer Mama

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