This recipe (which I used for panning and oven baking time/temp)
This recipe (which I used for ingredient measurements and prep)
These ingredients (a tip of the hat to Kate’s Momofuku Compost Cookie without the salt attack)
(plus some Marshmallows I forgot to add into the photo)
I did the other night. Sunday, to be exact. I’ll preface this all by saying that the Missus and I eat pretty well, not healthy but better than we did when we first met each other. Which is, honestly, to say that we eat less highly processed prepackaged crap. We still eat a lot of junk food–pizza is the essential go to when I’m too tired to cook–but at least we try to minimize how horrific the ingredient list is. Though I am saying this while a 40oz bag of Halloween candy sits on our living room table.
With that, I bring you back to the other night and a craving so bad I woke the next morning, still jonesing for it. Not unusual for me, really, except that this craving was for a Little Debbie Swiss Cake Roll.
Fine, not really unusual for a person with my smoking hobby. But, to be honest, I haven’t had one in over a decade but there I was sitting on the couch–in a smokey state–trying to convince the Missus to run down to Irving to buy me one. Yet, with all of my pestering and attempts at cuteness, I was left with none.
The next day, sober and still craving one, I found myself shopping the dubious ‘food’ aisle at Rite Aid and purchased what I assumed was the Hostess version of it, ‘Funny Bones.’ Apparently, I wasn’t smart enough to read the label because ‘Funny Bones’ bare absolutely no resemblance to Little Debbie or her Swiss Cake Rolls–I should have been looking for ‘Ho-Ho’s’ I was later told. I also thought, at the time, that it would be fun to just go for broke and make this an all out tasting of childhood junk food so I picked up some creme filled cupcakes and a pack of Twinkies.
And, man, did I think I was a fucking genius. I did. So much so, that I got giddy about it and started texting the Missus about my Little Debbie craving victory. But, sadly, the victory was short lived when the tasting finally started and reality set in.
Let’s start with the worst of the bunch:
With the cupcake mania finally behind us I think it’s nice to revisit originals and that little curly q icing on top of the chocolate frosting screams original childhood treat for me. But, I’m not the eight year old I was when these were packed into my He-Man lunch box.
The tag line for this treat is, “You get a big delight in every bite.” Sure, you do. You also get a mouth full of partially hydrogenated vegetable and/or animal shortening and lots of high fructose corn syrup. That would be your addictive cream filled center that hooked us as children. As an adult, I can only compare the mouth feel of it–and that of all three snacks–to lube. The ‘cake’ itself, for all of the added ingredients to make it moist, tasted like week old cake at best and the chocolate frosting resembled nothing I know of chocolate.
But, thankfully, it wasn’t all that bad. Next there was a pack of:
There’s a scene in “No Reservations: Cleveland” where Anthony Bourdain, Harvey Peckar and Michael Ruhlman visit the world’s largest bookstore, Zubal Books, which happens to be an abandoned Twinkie factory. They open up one of the pipes in the store, still full of an unknown vintage of corn syrup, so a few of them could sample the liquid. Bourdain declares: “It’s Twinkie–licious,” and although it’s been nearly two decades since I’ve had one, I know exactly what he means. There is something about the cloyingly sweet center, one that was more forgiving than that of the cupcakes, that one only relates to eating a Twinkie.
For me, this was probably the one that I wanted to be better tasting than I knew it would be. Thankfully, it was finished in a few bites because after the first, just like the cupcakes, my mouth was instantly coated in sugary film.
The most palatable was the mistake of the group:
The Missus and I part ways on our opinion of this snack. While she thought it was the worst of the three I thought there was more moisture to the cake and less of that lube feel to the filling. Perhaps it was because it had been cut with actual peanuts somewhere in it’s making and not some artificial peanut flavor, but whatever the reason, it wasn’t too bad. The chocolate coating, again, was a bit of a disappointment and was the driest aspect of the snack. It was actually so dry that the coating started to flake off as I cut into to put it onto plates.
We each have that point in our lives when we realize we’ve gotten older. We wake up one morning to find new wrinkles, shiny gray hairs and aches in our bones we were unaware of just the day before. I had one of those moments when we were done forcing down our snacks. And, honestly, it made me a little sad to be a grown up.