Sunday, February 25, 2007

Mmmm ... Twinkies

Food writer Steve Ettlinger has written a book tracing all 39 ingredients of a Hostess Twinkie to their origins. Twinkies say alot about American food culture, and Ettlingers fundamental question in "Twinkies, Deconstructed" is a good one:

At the heart of the book is the fundamental question: why is it you can bake a cake at home with as few as six ingredients, but Twinkies require 39? And why do many of them seem to bear so little resemblance to actual food? The answer: To stay fresh on a grocery-store shelf, Twinkies can't contain anything that might spoil, like milk, cream or butter. Once you remove such real ingredients, something has to take their placeā€”and cellulose gum, lecithin and sodium stearoyl lactylate are a good start. Add the fact that industrial quantities of batter have to pump easily through automated tubes into cake molds, and you begin to get the idea.

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