The Hostess Twinkie Challenge

A few months ago Ben, the kids, and I were eating at Pluckers

The waitress asked us if we’d like to try the Fried Twinkie for dessert.

Travis, our 9 year old, goes,

“What’s a Twinkie?”

Whut Whut???? (cue record screeching here)

{{Did he seriously just ask what a Twinkie was?}}

Not knowing what a Twinkie is is a crime against humanity.

How on earth could we have let this happen?

Obviously we just had to get the Fried Twinkie at that point. Every child in America should know what a Twinkie is by the time they are at least 2, if not younger.

Image borrowed from here

(He wasn’t a fan of the Fried Twinkie, by the way)

This sudden jump kick to the crotch (Thanks Matt, for the quote) jolted us into the reality that we are far too healthy with our children. A childhood without sugar crashes and cavities… you might as well just call me the worst parent in America. What God-Fearing American would raise their offspring without Twinkies?

Obviously something had to be done about this, stat. I mean, seriously, my reputation as a parent was on the line.

And so, the GREAT Hostess showdown of 2011 was born.


Oh, yes, yes we did. We so went there. My kids can no longer say they’ve never tried every single Hostess product on the market.

A few days after the Twinkie debacle, my mom went to the gas station and purchased one of every Hostess package they had in stock that day.

Let the tasting (and sugar crashes and cavities) begin!

The lineup: Suzy Q’s, Sno Balls, Zingers, Ding Dongs, and Ho Hos.


The Judges: My kids, Kinsey and Travis, and my sister Rachael.


Which heart-attack in a plastic wrapper will be crowned the Hostess winner of 2011?


It was a tough day. By the end of the taste-testing each judge had a tummy ache and a sugar headache. But that didn’t stop them. The Judging MUST GO ON.


Oh, the judging was difficult. I’m so glad I didn’t have to be the one to make that call! How could anyone even decide between 5 carb and sugar filled ambrosia’s?


Finally, the verdict was in. The overwhelming champion was none other than…

{{Drum Roll}}…


Suzy Q’s!

Sno Balls were a close second, only losing to the Suzy Q because Travis isn’t a fan of coconut. The other three quickly trailed off, leaving the Ding Dong the obvious loser. Poor Ding Dong.

And there you have it. The very official unofficial Hostess showdown of 2011.

My kids can now proudly call themselves Americans. They can recite the Pledge of Allegiance each morning in class without the Twinkie shame hanging over their heads. They can stop living a lie!

On a side note, yes, this is all in pure sarcastic fun. I am probably officially the worst parent in America now for having a Hostess Showdown. If it’s any consolation, my kids were so sick afterward that they haven’t asked for a single Hostess pastry since. Hmmm, maybe I’m a good parent after all.

What is your favorite Hostess sugary confection?

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  1. bestest sister ever says:

    Everyone knows that the best Hostess treat ever made wasn’t even in the line-up. WHERE ARE THE DELICIOUS, CREAM-FILLED, CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES?? They are heaven in a cellophane wrapper. Mmmmmm.

  2. You are too funny! I have to say though that my twins haven’t had most of those either. We are too healthy now, aren’t we? Our older kids know all about sugar crashes and cavities, guess we became over protective with the smaller 2 after seeing what it did to the older ones! lol BTW, I totally agree with the winner and rankings. I LOVE Suzy Q’s. I always had them in my lunch growing up. 🙂 Thanks for the laugh. Chris

  3. Kirsten Giles says:

    Oh my Gosh! I L.O.V.E. it! This seriously is one of the cutest, most fun posts I have read! Your personality “shines” in your writing! I think I need to have a Hostess Showdown at my house! Too fun!

  4. Fun and tasty!!! I can not believe that Ding Dong’s were last?! Those are my favorite, although it has been years!!! My kids have never had a twinkie before… should I introduce them?

  5. So funny! Glad you let your kids pig out on sugar. Mine also thought that yogurt was a dessert for a LONG time 😛

    Growing up in the northeast…it was Drake’s cakes, not Hostess.
    I had a Ring Ding every day after lunch in high school…Ring Ding, Ring Ding, wish I had a-NOTHER Ring Ding ( From their jingle in the sixties…amazing what the brain remembers, LOL)

  6. Of the ones you sampled my favorite is the snoball. I also like “tiger tails”, which is a twinkie with coconut/raspberry stripes on it.

  7. Oh my gosh, the whole time I was reading this I kept thinking “Let it be Suzy Q’s, let it be Suzy Q’s.” Score!! 🙂

    I actually agree with the ding dongs…a little too waxy for my taste. Haha, I speak as if I’m a hostess connoisseur. I haven’t had any of these delectable treats in a LONG time. But of course now I’m craving a box of “heart attacks in a plastic wrapper.” 😀

  8. Suzy Q’s! My mom used to buy them and freeze them before eating, so good by the way!

  9. snow balls FOR SURE! love love LOVE snowballs! The rest I could pass up any day of the week! I don’t think my kids have tried half of those either!

  10. Hostess who??
    Nobody bakes a cake as tasty as a Tastykake.

    Ten times better I dare you!

  11. i love that you had a hostess showdown! i have never had a suzyq or a snowball but i dont really care for any of the others. twinkies though.. yum.
    when my son was 6ish my brother took him and his kids to the park for some fun and afterwards they stopped at mcdonalds for lunch. when my brother asked him if he wanted some chicken nuggets my son looked confused and asked what they were. my brother was horrified and very disappointed in his little sister for not ever taking her son to mcdonalds.
    9 years later my son still doesnt eat at mcdonalds. oh he eats junk food but mcd’s doesnt top the list.
    sorry bro.

  12. Okay, this? This made me laugh so hard! Especially the part about them not wanting any more since. My husband said he was super impressed you made it this far without your kids knowing what a Twinkie was.

  13. Ha!! This so cracked me up!! Me? I loved the Hostess Cupcakes!! And fried pies…cherry!! Ha!!
    Now I have to go out and find one…thanks!!

  14. I LOL at this post! I’m the worst parent in America, too. I love Hostess treats! I’ve never tried a fried twinkie though. That is on my “Bucket List”. 😉

  15. I cant believe your kids have never tried these… WOW.

    for me it would have to be tastycakes…

    I did get a good laught out of this!

  16. I have to confess…….a week ago I decided I just HAD TO HAVE a Hostess Cupcake! I haven’t had one in, probably, 20 years! I sneaked to the grocery store and bought a box. I almost thought I would have to go incognito, as I was so embarrassed to be buying something that was so bad for me. I’m a 62 yr old women, for crying out loud! I came home – tore into one – chomped it quickly – and wondered what all the fuss was about. It was good………but not nearly as good as they were 40-50 years ago. I remember them as being so much fluffier, much softer cake, richer in chocolate. There are 7 cakes left. I probably should share with my neighbors and see what their memories are of these bits of luciousness!!!!!!

  17. oh my gosh, that’s the cutest thing EVER! I don’t even know if we have those things in Canada. I’ll have to test out our kids on them next month in Florida!

  18. Hello! Hostess Chocolate Cupcakes!!! I have to hide my secret stash!
    What a cute way start my morning, thanks for the laughs 🙂

  19. Love. {Love}. LOVE this post. You are an awesome mom! And don’t let the sugar police tell you otherwise!

  20. OMG! This is too funny! I agree with bestest sister ever. Hostess cupcakes should win! But second to that, I can’t believe HoHo’s were so far down the list, LOL
    I hate coconut, but I still like me some Snowballs! Twinkies? not so much.
    I too can’t believe you ever made it this far without the kids knowing about Twinkies!

  21. Very fun! Hostess products are definitely a part of our American culture that every one needs to experience. Thank you for doing your part for cultural literacy for the next generation. I’ve never purchased Twinkies for my kids either. My son is going to college this fall so it is now on the to do list. 🙂

  22. Can’t say we have had to much hostess in our house either. There is so much more for them to pick from today compared to our childhood. BUT that being said I have to put my vote in for the snowballs because the colors are so fun. My hostess favorite though ( still to this day) would be the apple pie. Which I found out has as much calories as a big mac..YUM! Also, there was a version of the zingers filled w peanut butter called FUNNY BONES… now those were yummy! thanks for the fun post

  23. Loved it! My favorites were those little cream filled cupcakes with the curlique on the top. When mom put those in the lunch box, it was a very good day. I had to laugh at your kids not knowing about Twinkies. I don’t really think my kids had them as a rule either. But, you are so right when you point out that sometimes a kid just has to experience that sugar overload. I mean, who wants those little ‘Stepford Kids’ that never, ever eat sugar … or whatever?

  24. Do you know how much fun this sounds! I just might have to copy this one!

  25. What a great idea! Not thinking you are the worst mom at all. In fact I think we need to do this at my house as well. But you are totally missing the Tiger Tails! My personal favorite.

    I remember when I was in high school one of the science teachers had a Hostess mobile hanging in his room. He unwrapped and hung different hostess “treats” together to show that they don’t mold or go bad because of the preservatives. It was hanging in his room for the 4 years I was there and probably long after I wasn’t. Those treats never looked any different, didn’t turn green or fuzzy or anything. Just became hard as rocks. Very gross, but I’m right there with you that all kids should know what yummy treats they are!

  26. Your kids are correct — Suzy Qs are the bomb! We only were allowed to have this kind of treat once a year in our sack lunch during our class picnics! I always requested a Suzy Q!

  27. That’s so funny – a few years ago my daughter asked me what a Twinkie was, and I was SHOCKED that she had never tried one! She now loves them! On a road trip one time we bought her a hostess cupcake – she thought it was the most heavenly thing she’d ever tasted!!! I believe we should allow our kids the freedom to enjoy these things while they’re young. Plenty of time to worry about our thighs later!

  28. NO WAY!!! Funny Bones by Drakes…what’s better than chocolate and Peanut butter I ask you? NOTHING…that’s what!

  29. It wasn’t until last year, after watching an episode of Swamp People that I discovered what a Zebra Cake was. They were awful, but it cracks me up that I apparently missed out on this nostalgic “treat” as a kid and didn’t find out until watching an alligator hunter’s dog gobble them down.

  30. you are hilarious!! ok few things:
    1. my good friend didnt have twinkies till she went away to college
    2. my son thinks frozen yogurt cups are ice cream and baby food fruit is pudding.
    3. I have never heard of suzy what are they?
    4. Ding Dong are my FAVE! Stick them in the freezer oh yum!

  31. Julia Trefethen says:

    Sometimes I just like reading your posts for a good out-loud laugh! Might have to try this one with the boys as they also have not had any of these…prob for good reason as you so eleoquently (ha–did I even spell that right? There’s my $4 word for the day) put it!

  32. Oh no no no! You left out the CHOCODILE!!! “It takes awhile to eat a chocodile!” Oh they are my favorite for sure!

  33. Ha ha. I found out about a month ago that my almost-13-yo had never eaten a Twinkie. I, like you, was shocked too. I couldn’t believe that I’d never, in 12 years, given her a Twinkie. Then she asked about Ding Dongs, and I couldn’t help it. The 12 year old in me started snickering. Anyway, I’d never had one of those, so we went out and bought a box. She didn’t like them, but I sure did. Poor thing still hasn’t had a Twinkie. Maybe I should do the taste test too.

    My faves are the raspberry and coconut Zingers and the orange cupcakes. Mmmmm.

  34. When the Minions were little I was too busy to make sure every dessert was from scratch, so they could have easily weighed in on this one!

  35. Definitely the orange cupcakes are the best in our house. It’s probably a good thing I have never seen them for sale in the big boxes or I’d eat too many but as a gas station treat we love ’em. I have even gotten all 3 of my kids on board and they pick those as often as chocolate.

  36. I vote this your funniest post yet! I used to buy a package of Ho-Hos from the vending machine at my High School every day at lunch to share with my boyfriend. It brings back such memories!

  37. Your blog always cracks me up which is why I read it often. I went to the hostess factory/bakery for a field trip. I could barely pay attention because I knew we were going to get something at the end of the tour.

    Then as an adult I found out that there are so many preservatives in twinkies that it will look the same after a year. My favorites are the hohos. I used to unwrap the chocolate then unwrap it and eat it. Talk about being a messy eater.

    Of course Suzie Q’s won and I haven’t seen them in my stores. Did you see Suzie Q’s when you were in Los Angeles?

  38. That is awesome! It’s definitely a crime to humanity that any child would live without knowing what a Twinkie tastes like. haha I love to make desserts myself, so we rarely buy any Hostess or Little Debbie treats, but they are sooo yummy. I just might have to grab some for my cart the next time I’m at the grocery. Mmm … now my mouth is watering!

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