Lost meals and memories

Now that Hostess is out of business, Weird Al can no longer eat his Twinkie-Weiner Sandwiches.

I have purchased exactly four (4) Twinkies in the past twenty years (all of them for the Kiddos) and I’ve purchased an equal number of those sickly-sweet yellow cupcakes with the orange frosting (and the little white swirl) and the sponge cake that left your mouth feeling like an oil slick for hours afterward.

So…not exactly the most faithful consumer of Hostess products, but I’m still wistful to see them go.

I guess I wanted the certainty of knowing they’d be there. Not because I wanted them, but because it was something from my childhood, something I was used to seeing. But really, what foods stay around forever?

If you think about it, we “lose” familiar foods all the time. Moving away from home. You learn to cook on your own, but it’s not the same. Or those awesome french fries you used to get at the restaurant that closed back when you were in high school. (Ah, Gustos! Fries so hot they melted my retainer to exactly conform to the shape of my mouth. I was so sad when the health department closed them down.)

I can still smell the “fruit stripes” gum the nice old man down the block used to give me when I was five.

But more than that, I miss my grandmother’s cooking. I miss the way she used to make tomato sauce, and no one else makes it the same way. My mother and my aunt cook kind of like her, but it’s not exact.

We lose food all the time, I guess. Losing Hostess isn’t so different.

But I don’t want to be totally grim, so here’s a story. Back when my Patient Husband and I were first married, I decided to try making eggplant parmigiana. I had never made one before, but my grandmother had made the most amazing eggplant parm. Ever. I knew what I’d been told about making it, but I’d never watched her do it.

Regardless, I set out full of bravery (or was it foolishness) and followed the directions I thought I remembered, along with some tips my other grandmother gave me. I knew it wouldn’t turn out like Grandma’s, but I figured over time I could try to refine it and get it closer.

And you know what? It came out perfect. It came just like hers.

Sometimes you don’t lose the food, I guess. It was like one last gift from my grandmother to me.


  1. Jason Block

    Food Memories are awesome…Junior’s Cheesecake, L&B Spumoni Gardens…et al. 🙂