Treasure hunt on Hampton Ave

| Managing Editor

Growing up, I had all the normal desserts in my lunch box—cookies, cupcakes, even the pre-packaged ones like Cosmic Brownies and Swiss Rolls. There was just one I didn’t have: Twinkies.

Last week, Student Life was contacted by a public relations representative from Long John Silver’s about a new product they were selling: fried Twinkies. The Holy Grail. The piece de resistance.

In my hometown, we don’t have a Long John Silver’s. I don’t even know where one is; Chick-fil-A pretty much runs the place. My mom is vegetarian, and my brother doesn’t like the smell of seafood, so fish is pretty scarce in my house. While I was excited about trying the Twinkie, one question loomed at the thought of dining at Long John’s: Do I even like fish?

Throughout the month of July (beginning on June 21, the first day of summer) Long John Silver’s is offering fried Twinkies to the two cities that “love them the most”: Pittsburgh and St. Louis. Originally, the fried dessert was only offered as the finishing touch on the “Fisherman’s Feast” meal, but once people started asking for one additional (or 12, for the whole family or office), Long John Silver’s opted to offer them a la carte at 99 cents a piece.

As I sat down to try my (first- or  second-ever) serving of fish, I talked to Katrina, the public relations representative for Long John Silver’s, about their journey with Twinkie the Kid, the mascot on loan from Hostess, the original manufacturer of the Twinkie. To outfit the mascot for his new role, Twinkie received a custom-made eye patch and bandana for his hat—he’s now a pirate (Side note: If you order 12 Twinkies, you get them in a cardboard treasure chest). By the time we were done talking, I realized I had successfully tried the crispy fried fish, and I’d survived the harrowing experience. One new food down, one to go.

Twinkie the Kid in his custom costume in front of the Gateway Arch. Courtesy of Katrina Gallagher

Twinkie the Kid in his custom costume in front of the Gateway Arch.

Now, I was on to the main show: the Twinkie. Served in a paper sleeve, the outside appearance resembles a thick churro with a golden, crispy exterior.

Before I tried the confectionary marvel, I asked Katrina if she had ever tried one before: “No, because people eat them in front of me….Like, all the time.”

As we dove in together, I was in heaven. The inside was fluffy, filled with cream and, in a word, awesome. Like, so good. Like, I would reserve an Enterprise CarShare to go get one in a moment of weakness.

All in all, I would give my experience trying the two most nonthreatening new foods of all time 4.5 out of 5 stars. Half a star less than perfect because I didn’t get to meet Twinkie the Kid himself, but I can still dare to dream. Maybe next time.

If you want to try one for yourself, head down to any Long John Silver’s in the St. Louis area before July 23 (they’ll be available nationally in the next few month; this is just a sneak peek).