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Monday, November 19, 2012

What’s In A Twinkie?

Author Steve Ettlinger stands at the entry of the mine shaft in Wyoming, where the rock used to make baking soda and baking powder comes from. He went 1,600 feet below ground and then drove in a Jeep for 30 minutes to reach the site. (TwinkieDeconstructed.com)

All the talk about the possible loss of the Twinkie got us thinking about our 2007 interview with Steve Ettlinger the author of “Twinkie, Deconstructed.”

Prompted by a question from one of his children – “Daddy, what’s polysorbate 60?” – Steve set out on a quest to learn about the contents of the yellow snack food.

Steve discovered an array of unfamiliar ingredients that he explores in his book.

We revisit that conversation which also featured Huda Ahmed, a reporter from Iraq, who at the time was one of our interns.

Huda had never tasted a Twinkie before, but was willing to try one as part of her American experience, as she told Here & Now’s Robin Young, “I’ve eaten everything in Iraq so it won’t harm me to eat something here.”


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  • it

    This is reposted because I put it on the wrong segment before…

    I had to laugh at your guest. He put on the pompous air that he didn’t like Twinkies, but when he was asked if he had to do a taste test he had to swallow very hard a few seconds later because his Pavlovian response kicked in. He thinks himself and intellectual and lies to himself, but his respondent conditioning to that stimulus gave him away.

    • Guest

      I hate fast food, but that doesn’t mean I don’t salivate when I see it.

    • http://www.twinkiedeconstructed.com/ Steve

      I’m not sure I understand your comment, but I think you are referring to me.  What do you mean?  I don’t like Twinkies but while working for years on this book (along with many other things) I occasionally found them intriguing me — they have an appealing shape, for one, which I think attracts a lot of people. I also like to experience what I’m writing about, so I tasted them when writing about the oil or the flavoring or the gums in the filling–and also took flights at 6 AM and met TV crews at 5Am and did lots of other thing s that I don’t like to do or find hard. It’s my job!

      Steve Ettlinger
      Author

  • Drewmanmail

    As  I entered male middle-age, I found I had a craving for TWINKIES.  However aside from being on the high side price wise, when I read the label- I Could Not buy them- too much Fat.  THEN came the miracle   - it lasted only one year.  TWINKIES LIGHT- Much less fat-
    and they tasted Fantastic!  Have no idea why they stopped making them.  I’m waiting on another low fat Twinkie miracle!  

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/E7CXN5ZM7JMLBMVSGB3ONUJZ3Y Laura

    I didn’t hear it, but a friend posted this:  Wow, they just totally got the “Twinkie Defense” issue in the Dan White murder case wrong on NPR…they mocked the defense as not working…but it got a cold blooded murderer a reduced conviction for manslaughter, leading to near riots. #researchfail

    Is this true?  If so, not only was it poor research, but something that should be corrected and an apology should be made.

    • Celia

      Yes Laura!  When I heard this story this morning and the mention of the “Twinkie Defense” I thought the same thing.  They called it the “failed Twinkie Defense”, and that Dan White “went to jail”, but to call it a failed defense is not true.  A man committed pre-meditated double assasination and gets off w/ involuntary manslaughter instead of 2 charges of 1st degrees murder and just 6 years of jail instead of life in prison or the death penalty.  This outrageous injustice hurt SF to the core resulting in real riots (not near riots).  This was very serious, so for NPR to pass off the trial of Dan White as a joke is not OK.  NPR needs to issue an apology.

      • Robin

        Celia and Laura, you are absolutely right!!
        Completely my fault, I should have said, “derided” defense,
        but it was very successful in getting White a shorter term.

        Deep apologies.

        Best
        Robin  

  • Geoff Forbes

    Say what you want about the Twinkie, it’s not as bad as the segment’s closing song.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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