J500 Media and the Environment


Mommy, where do Twinkies come from? by mstinawood
January 30, 2009, 4:10 pm
Filed under: Food + Health | Tags: , , , ,

road-of-twinkies1An unfortunate question for those who are faced with coming up with an honest answer. Fortunately for my mother I never asked that question, instead I wanted to know how they got the vanilla creme perfectly aligned inside the cake. My mother’s response,”Magic!” That’s the best explanation she could come up with and one I was eager to accept. From childhood on, the creation of the Twinkie, among other cookie cutter mass produced delights, remained a mystery to me and maybe to you too.. until now. The reality of the Twinkie is much more grim than I could have imagined as a child.

You know that glue on the back of stamps that coats your mouth with a weird film if you lick too many? Its the same kind of waxy coat your mouth wears after eating a Twinkie and thats not a coincidence. Many ingredients found on the labels of snack foods can also be found in disinfectants and weedkillers. Of course I must be fair and note that the quantity of ferrous sulfate is much smaller in snack products, so don’t go trying to kill weeds with Twinkies!

There are resources available for those who want to learn how to eat healthy. My advice, if you can’t pronounce a particular ingredient, it’s most likely living a double life as a component of not only your snack but also as an industrial strength chemical. Lastly, to dispell any misunderstandings, Twinkies do not have a shelf life of years. According to Anne Underwood’s article in Newsweek, it’s actually less than a month! I know for a fact that I’ve consumed a Twinkie found in the recesses of the pantry that had to have been approaching it’s first birthday and congratulated myself on an awesome find! I now wonder if some of that petroleum based residue still resides in the recesses of my ingredients.

Tina Wood

Thanks to New Jersy Jewish News for the photo

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3 Comments so far
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Tina,
I love your advice:
“. . .If you can’t pronounce a particular ingredient, it’s most likely living a double life as a component of not only your snack but also as an industrial strength chemical.”
The multiple purposes of chemicals (food! fuel! cleaning agent!) are necessary (to increase shelf lives) and scary. I feel the same ambivalence toward Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) which we will be exploring in the weeks ahead.
Simran

Comment by j500

We use the pronunciation guide as well. I remember the first time we came across the phrase “enterified oil” on an ingredient list. My husband and l looked at each other in fear, shuddered and quickly put the box back on the shelf! Sometimes it’s just easier not to look, you know–and we care!

Comment by Becca

I tried looking up esterified oil and came to the conclusion that I may have to stay on at KU and get another degree in chemistry if I’m ever going to understand all of the chemical processes that go into food additives. It’s esterifying!

Comment by christinaw09




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