And the republic cried, "NOoooOoo!" The junk food brand of choice for kids, news anchors (or maybe that's Entenmann's ) and politicians alike will be no more. Hostess Brands, famous for Twinkies, Sno Balls and Hostess Cakes, have closed their doors forever after a Baker's Union strike forced the company to halt operations and sell all assets. Hostess' main website confirmed the news on Friday, stating:
"Hostess Brands is closed. We are sorry to announce that Hostess Brands, Inc. has been forced by a Bakers Union strike to shut down all operations and sell all company assets. For more information, go to hostessbrands.info. Thank you for all of your loyalty and support over the years."
So, the real question is - without Hostess around, how will we survive the pending apocalypse, let alone a zombie invasion, without the sugary, [allegedly] radioactive, goodness of these timeless treats?
In all honesty, I've never been a Twinkie girl. I find them cloyingly sweet; nauseating to the nth degree (got a problem with that?). But I grew up making miniature forts out of Ho-Hos (don't act like you didn't!). Hostess Brand products were a huge part of my nutritionally-deprived childhood and the blur of college. Sure, there's Little Debbie and Entenmann's, but when it comes to the harkening of childhood memories, Hostess is where it's at (remember Suzy Q's and Chocodiles?). And for all you crunchy hippies - the fall of Hostess may apply to its daughter brands, like Colombo yogurts and Nature's Pride, so this affects you too!
But do these confections last indefinitely? Could you store a few pallets of Twinkies in your post-apocalyptic bunker should the dead rise to feed on BRAINS? Along with the whole roach surviving without a head rumor, another winner about radioactive Twinkies, and/or their ability to withstand radiation exposure, has been circulating. What is radioactive anyway? Is Steven Tyler considered a radioactive substance? Allow me to go all science nerd on you right quick.
For some reason, many people confuse radioactive with petrified. A radioactive substance doesn't last indefinitely, on the contrary, it degrades. Depending on the substance, it's half life (generally the time it takes for half its radioactive nuclei to undergo decay) can vary from a few days to much, much longer than the human lifespan. In layman's terms, a radioactive substance contains atoms with unstable nuclei. These atoms, emit, or throw out, subatomic particles (electrons, protons or photons of energy) into the cosmos. When those particles aren't tethered to their parent atom they cause all types of fun problems, and by fun I mean skin-melting, DNA altering good times. So you don't exactly want to munch on anything that is highly radioactive or has the ability to absorb large amounts of radioactive particles.
However, "naturally" occurring radioactive substances are found in common things like bananas. A banana actually has its very own measure of radioactivity! The Banana Equivalent Dose, or BED, measures "naturally" occurring radioactive isotopes found in bananas. "Naturally" because their radioactivity is a direct result of human nuclear activity - don't worry, they're still safe folks. Have you ever let a banana sit out for a week? That dark brown, mushy snot rocket probably isn't bunker-ready and neither are those Hostess-brand Twinkies. The jury is out on the actual shelf life of a Twinkie, but the general range appears to be a week to nearly 25 days.
So, while you're brushing up on your sharpshooter skills (go for the head!) and channeling your inner Rick Grimes (if you don't get the reference, please run into a wall, stat) you may want to pack these foods in your bunker for some good sources, short of cultivating your own subterranean hydroponic farm, of nourishment:
• Honey - Apparently honey found in the ancient tombs of Egypt can still technically be consumed.
• MREs and Freeze-Dried Foods - Hey, we didn't say the apocalypse was going to be a night out at Chili's did we? These may not last indefinitely, but you'll definitely have a few decades to contemplate your own mortality before these go bad.
• Dried grains - These can last anywhere from 8-12 years depending on conditions and type. Just be careful! A psychedelic fungus grown on rye bread caused the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. So watch out for those reubens, unless, ya know, you're into that kind of thing.
• Textured vegetable protein - Okay, I can't even...gross. Lasts for about 20 years. Better than hunting down squirrels (these cute critters can still carry the bubonic plague. Yum.)
What were we talking about? Ah, Hostess Brands. While the non-GMO, preservative-free nuts are rejoicing in their sustainable homes the rest of us are crying, "Why?!" What will you do without your go-to munchie food? You can always try your hand at replicating your favorite snacks here. Do you have any junk food brands you just couldn't live without?