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Ryan Bakken, Forum Communications, Published November 21 2012

Ryan Bakken: A town with no Twinkies

GRAND FORKS - While turkey seems to be the food of choice on most people’s plates today, there’s another “t” word that’s been on my mind this week: Twinkie.

That’s right. With speculation percolating that Twinkies might become extinct, I decided to go hunting for the leading stereotype of junk food myself. Call it the Great Grand Forks Twinkie Search.

I came up empty.

I sought a Twinkie to place atop my work computer for three reasons: 1) It would serve as a reminder to eat healthy because it isn’t; 2) It might become a collectible; and 3) Because of its reputation for a long shelf life, I wanted to see how long it would take for a Twinkie to turn green, then submit my findings to Scientific Monthly.

Alas, after stops at 10 grocery and convenience stores, I couldn’t find a single Twinkie in Grand Forks/ East Grand Forks. This wasn’t the result of the stores being sold out of Twinkies because of the uncertain future of Hostess Brands Inc., its parent company. It was because they aren’t stocked on shelves here.

I hope this doesn’t lower our best-places-to-live-in-America ranking.

It appears that we’re instead a Little Debbie community. (Judging by the wide range of sugary foods endorsed by the red-haired, cherubic Debbie on the packages, she must be Big Debbie by now.)

Debbie offers the likes of Santa Brownies, Honey Buns, Zebra Cakes, Nutty Bars, Star Crunch and Cosmic Brownies, all north of celery for calorie counts and angioplasties caused.

I also spotted sugary treats from Dolly, Mrs. Freshley and the Keebler elves. But no Twinkies or Ding Dongs or Ho Hos from Hostess.

Hostess apparently doesn’t have the most-est in these parts, although I may have missed them on shelves. I’ve been known to miss other things, such as wedding anniversaries, birthdays and deadlines.

With $68 million in sales this year, Twinkie is not a has-been. It’s been around forever, as Archie Bunker’s lunchbox always included a Twinkie in the “All in the Family” sitcom from the 1970s. It’s difficult to imagine that it will go away forever, no matter what complications its parent company faces.

So, take a deep breath, Twinkie fans. And, if you have a spare, please consider donating it to science. Or to me.