This summertime classic, with origins in the United Kingdom, is a traditional warm weather treat all over the world
Why Twinkies Wouldn't Exist Without Strawberry Shortcake
By Cynthia Anaya
Twinkies have been gracing store shelves since the 1930s, after 33-year-old James Dewar invented them in his Illinois bakery during the Great Depression. While today's Twinkies are hardly a dessert with lots of effort put into them, they wouldn’t exist without a down-home dessert favorite: strawberry shortcake.
Before Dewar invented the Twinkie, he was making cream-filled strawberry shortcakes using a special machine, but strawberries are only in season for a few months in Illinois. This means that the machine went unused for 46 weeks of the year, so Dewar found another use for it and began making banana cream-filled sponge cakes.
Bananas are available throughout all four seasons, unlike strawberries, but the shortcake filling was later changed to vanilla, due to banana shortages during World War II. Dewar's cakes evolved into the convenient, pre-packaged Hostess Twinkies we know today, and in 2020, 3.32 million Americans consumed at least eight Twinkies.