Columns 2003

Deep fried Twinkies – it just seems wrong

A number of years ago, a magazine out of New York City did an experiment on Twinkies.  They took a Twinkie and put it on the ledge of the windowsill of their building.  They let it sit there through rain and snow. They pounded it a few times to try and smash it down. They let it bake in the heat and freeze in the cold.  When all was said and done, the Twinkie pretty much held its own.  It retained its shape, flavor and freshness


That’s pretty remarkable. In fact, I figured if Twinkies could withstand all that abuse and still be whole and delicious, then maybe they were the perfect food – especially if they could impart that indestructibility to the person eating them. Of course, since then, those wet blankets from the health and nutrition fields have blown my theory to bits by implying that Twinkies are perhaps not the healthiest food in the world and their very indestructibility could actually work against them as a food that should be put in your body. I guess there is just something suspect in a food product that can outlive you.

However, all the above information not withstanding, there was just something intriguing about the idea of a fried Twinkie.  So I called my friend Kate up and suggested we go to the Saturday Market and bring along her bottomless pit, also referred to as her teenage son Nick.

Nick is one of those people that many of us view with envy bordering on pathological dislike.  He inherited his father’s genes which means he can eat more for lunch that I can eat in a week and not only not gain weight, but be ready for dinner two hours later.  I watch in awe as he packs it away into his lean body and wonder where it could possibly be going since his stomach doesn’t even bulge out slightly when he’s done.  He was perfect for our Saturday research.

Nick went ahead of us as Kate and I strolled through the market making decisions on what produce to come back and purchase before we left. It made us feel so very good and healthy. Meanwhile, Nick was out vacuuming up food at every stand he passed to be sure he had enough lunch before dessert.  Then he bought the fried Twinkie.  And, just because he could, he bought a fried Milky Way bar too.

Now I have to admit that while I found the whole concept of a fried Twinkie somewhat comprehensible since it was a faux bread product and bread products have been fried for millennia, the idea of a fried Milky Way seemed a bit off.  Fried chocolate just somehow doesn’t seem right.  But then, I thought, it’s nougat and chocolate so how bad could it be? 

Well, perhaps it’s because I’m diabetic and used to fake sugar that the taste of the fried Milky Way seemed so wrong on so many levels.  Lord knows it looked right – fried dough surrounding melting chocolate and nougat.  But it just didn’t work together.  The Twinkie, on the other hand, had some socially redeemable value. It was fried dough around something that resembled a cake-like mass filled with chemicals made to look like cream.  I viewed it as a cream puff for the new millennium.

The taste of the fried Twinkie is hard to describe.  Of course, I was limited to only one bite in my effort to not slip into a diabetic coma because I had to drive home. So maybe a few more bites would have made a difference.  But maybe not.  The fried dough was good – again, what’s not to like. But the Twinkie inside was just a Twinkie that had been heated up.  Heating does not necessarily add to the unique flavor of Twinkies. It just makes that flavor a bit more incomprehensible on your tongue.

I think the real test came when Nick, the consumer of all that is edible any time of the day or night, threw out the remains of the Twinkie and Milky Way without finishing it.  Apparently you have to eat them hot if you are going to eat them at all. Allowing them to cool off creates a food mass that defies description. 

Or, as we like to say, if Nick won’t eat it, it shouldn’t be eaten.