Twinkies, love them or hate them, are a major cultural touchstone. These simple snack cakes are one of the most divisive foods around because of their nutritional content (or, more accurately, their lack thereof), but you have to admit that they’re tasty. Here are five things you didn’t know about the “Golden Sponge Cake with Creamy Filling.”
They Were Invented on April 6, 1930
James Alexander Dewar, a baker for the Schiller Park, Illinois-based Continental Baking Company, invented Twinkies during an experiment putting the machines used to make cream-filled strawberry shortcake to use while strawberries were out of season.
They Were Originally Banana-Flavored
The cream in Twinkies was originally banana-flavored, but it was switched to vanilla cream due to the World War II rationing of bananas. The flavor was a hit, so it stuck.
The Name Came From a Billboard
Dewar came up with the name for his product while in St. Louis when he saw a billboard for a company called Twinkle Toe Shoes. When Dewar retired in 1972, his unofficial title was “Mr. Twinkie.”
Their Shelf Life is Only Seven to Ten Days
They don’t actually live forever, contrary to popular belief.
They Were Off the Shelves for Seven Months and 24 Days
Hostess shut down production on November 21, 2012, but new owners Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co got them back on the shelves on July 15, 2013.