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Commentary: Deep fried twinkies and the American dream

As hot summer air settles in across the American landscape, the sweltering masses flock to their favorite leisure venues in search of the latest innovations in underwhelming entertainment and overpriced food. Being the good citizen that I am, I followed the smell of grease and the sound of cheering straight to my local minor league ballpark. Walking through the concourse on the way to my seat, I was assaulted by a myriad of food and beverage choices. All of the usual suspects were there: the hamburgers, the hotdogs, the cheese fries in the mini batting helmet, but I was in no mood for ancient and ordinary. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye I saw a sign: Deep Fried Twinkies.

Gazing through the glass at the concession stand, I saw them: golden brown, covered with powdered sugar, and mounted on Popsicle sticks. Now this is America. Since my first indoctrination in American culture, I had dreamt that our amber waves of grain would be employed in the formation of something so beautifully gluttonous as the deep fried Twinkie. As I took my first bite into this four-dollar delicacy, and the powdered sugar sprayed across my face and shirt, I had an epiphany about the evolution of the Twinkie and its place in the American dream...

From the beginning of its history, America has celebrated excess. Through pain and adversity, Americans strove to build the biggest, fastest, and most opulent examples of everything; each accomplishment a new symbol for the greatness of the country, and evidence of the country's ability to endure and to conquer. However, during the Great Depression, with spirits falling faster than bankers from skyscrapers, the future of American excessiveness was very much in doubt. It was during this dark time that the original Hostess Twinkie made its debut.

Hailed as an inexpensive yet delicious snack, the Twinkie, with its golden sponge cake exterior, shined forth with a glory that would never rust, and beauty that would never tarnish. Only in America could several days' worth of nutrition be molded conveniently in a single tiny cake. Emboldened by the idea that excess could also be inexpensive, America rose from the ashes of the Depression and began experimenting with even more cheap yet powerful food items, culminating in the rise of fast food.

With fast food restaurants beginning to dominate the country, the Twinkie fell from mainstream popularity, and its crucial accomplishments were all but forgotten, until it was brought back to prominence during the Cold War. The dawn of the nuclear age, and the threat of global destruction once again left Americans questioning the durability of their nation's power. As thousands of hard-working men across the country built bomb shelters to protect their families from the looming nuclear holocaust, they wondered what would sustain their families underground through years of fallout. McDonalds was no good underground. It went cold in a matter of minutes, and went rotten in just a few hours more.

Enter the Twinkie renaissance. Twinkies could be eaten at any temperature and contained nearly the fat and calories of an entire fast food meal; more than enough to sustain a snack-minded cave dweller. More importantly, though, scientific tests proved that in the event of nuclear winter, two things would survive: Twinkies and cockroaches. The golden patriot led America through its darkest hour for the second time, providing enjoyment and enlargement along the wayâ_| only to be usurped once again by fast food, as the largest McDonalds in the world opened in Moscow, spreading capitalism to red Russia, and ultimately ending the Cold War.

Following this betrayal, the Twinkie became an outcast on the American snack food scene. For most of the 90s Twinkies were the butt of jokes and the object of criticism for their gaudy fat content and calorific extreme. The Twinkie faithful knew that their treat could not survive in its current form, but they knew also that the Twinkie's time would come again, just when American excess was needed the most.

The year 2001 came and again the American way of life was threatened. Just as the War on Terror entered full stride, the Twinkie resurfaced, ready to lead the new America through the most trying times in its history. Though the old Twinkie was a hermetically sealed wonder, able to survive decades on the shelf, its passive, post-apocalyptic attitude was a relic of the Cold War, and didn't resonate the ideals of preemptive conflict. Taking a frozen Twinkie, dipping it in batter, and frying it for 90 seconds, a brilliant concessions expert in New York City gave us the deep fried Twinkie. This new model represents everything the new America stands for. With thrice the calories and six times the fat content of its predecessor the deep fried Twinkie is the apocalypse, harnessing a force that only American ingenuity could push to its full potential. face of any who dare take a bite out of it.

The Twinkie was always a compact and durable example of American success and excess, but in ages of insecurity it has always been the standard bearer for American ideals. As I finished chewing and swallowed my first little bite of heaven, I realized that this snazzy new Twinkie upgrade was far more than just the newest fad in American junk food genius, it was also a comforting reminder that, American attitude endures and will always seek to further the causes of arrogance, gluttony and conquest. Now if only we could get a McDonalds built in Iraq, I know there would be nothing more to fear.


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