IJMC Twinkie!

			     IJMC - Twinkie!

All you never wanted to know about a twinkie. And then some.   -dave

         In an effort to clarify questions about the purported
 durability and unusual physical characteristics of Twinkies, we
 subjected the Hostess snack logs to the following experiments:
          A Twinkie was left on a window ledge for four days, during
 which time an inch and a half of rain fell.  Many flies were observed
 crawling across the Twinkie's surface, but contrary to hypothesis,
 birds -- even pigeons -- avoided this potential source of sustenance.
         Despite the rain and prolonged exposure to the sun, the Twinkie
 retained its original color and form.  When removed, the Twinkie
 was found to be substantially dehydrated.  Cracked open, it was observed
 to have taken on the consistency of industrial foam insulation; the
 filling, however, retained its advertised "creaminess."
         A Twinkie was placed in a conventional microwave oven, which
 was set for precisely 4 minutes -- the approximate cooking time of
 bacon.  After 20 seconds, the oven began to emit the Twinkie's rich,
 characteristic aroma of artificial butter.  After 1 minute, this
 aroma began to resemble the acrid smell of burning rubber.  The experiment
 was aborted after 2 minutes, 10 seconds, when thick, foul smoke began
 billowing from the top of the oven.  A second Twinkie was subjected
 to the same experiment.  This Twinkie leaked molten white filling.
 When cooled, this now epoxylike filling bonded the Twinkie to its
 plate, defying gravity; it was removed only upon application of a
 butter knife.
         A Twinkie was dropped from a ninth-floor window, a fall of
 approximately 120 feet.  It landed right side up, then bounced
 onto its back.  The expected "splatter" effect was not observed.  Indeed,
 the only discernible damage to the Twinkie was a narrow fissure on
 its underside.  Otherwise, the Twinkie remained structurally intact.
         A Twinkie was placed in a conventional freezer for 24 hours.
 Upon removal, the Twinkie was not found to be frozen solid, but its
 physical properties had noticeably "slowed": the filling was found
 to be the approximate consistency of acrylic paint, while exhibiting the
 mercurylike property of not adhering to practically any surface.  It
 was noticed that the Twinkie had generously absorbed freezer odors.
         A Twinkie was exposed to a gas flame for 2 minutes.  While
 the Twinkie smoked and blackened and the filling in one of its "cream
 holes" boiled, the Twinkie did not catch fire.  It did, however,
 produce the same "burning rubber" aroma noticed during the irradiation
         A Twinkie was dropped into a large beaker filled with tap
 water.  The Twinkie floated momentarily, began to list and sink, and
 viscous yellow tendrils ran off its lower half, possibly consisting
 of a water-soluble artificial coloring.  After 2 hours, the Twinkie had
 bloated substantially.  Its coloring was now a very pale tan -- in
 contrast to the yellow, urine-like water that surrounded it.  The
 Twinkie bobbed when touched, and had a gelatinous texture. After 72
 hours, the Twinkie was found to have bloated to roughly 200 percent
 of its original size, the water had turned opaque, and a small,
 fan-shaped spray of filling had leaked from one of the "cream holes."
         Unfortunately, efforts to remove the Twinkie for further
 analysis were abandoned when, under light pressure, the Twinkie
 disintegrated into an amorphous cloud of debris. A distinctly sour
 odor was noted.

         The Twinkie's survival of a 120-foot drop, along with
 some of the unusual phenomena associated with the "creamy filling" and
 artificial coloring, should give pause to those observers who would
 unequivocally categorize the Twinkie as "food."  Further clinical
 inquiry is required before any definite conclusions can be drawn.

IJMC June 1995 Archives