The Wonder Bread years
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
When I was growing up in the ’70s and ’80s outside of Indianapolis, the mere mention of Wonder Bread triggered a sensory overload.
There was that aroma of freshly baked bread that hovered in the mind like a Christmas memory. Visions of bread bakers in their clean white uniforms and stiff paper hats forever danced in my head. The taste of soft white bread that practically melts in the mouth lingers to this day.
They don’t call it Wonder Bread for nothing.
The kids who grew up on the eastside of Indy know the place where Hostess used to bake the Wonder Bread. We had field trips to that bakery. We filed in, one kid after another, as if we were in Charlie’s Chocolate Factory. Except this wasn’t candy. This was bread.
Sweet, delicious Wonder Bread.
That’s why we remember the sights, the sounds, and the smells of that magical bread factory. Wonder Bread was everything its name stated.
When it was invented, it was wondrous. So fresh, and so clean. Wonder Bread was as soft as Peter Cottontail and white as the clouds in the sky. When placed outside of peanut butter and jelly, Wonder Bread tasted like heaven dipped in a rainbow when I was a kid.
Or something like that.
Last week, we all found out by Facebook that Wonder Bread was not as wondrous as it once was. After 82 years, Hostess, which started the Wonder Bread brand, is closing its doors. That means Hostess will no longer make Wonder Bread, Ding Dongs, Ho Hos, Sno Balls, and saddest of all, Twinkies.
Luckily, the Ho Ho brand, and others, can still be bought.
I haven’t had a Twinkie in a long while. So I’m not too torn up about the thought that Twinkies might no longer be an option for me in the snack aisle. I’m supposed to be at that age when snacks are not on my grocery list. I should have things like almonds, red cabbage, and calcium smoothies on my list.
Not one of those is anywhere close to a cream-filled cake.
I don’t know how many Twinkies I’ve eaten in my life. It’s not because there are so many it would be impossible to count. I just never counted. It could be more than 100, maybe it’s more like 50. Could be 200.
Who knows, really.
In my day – oh, how I never thought I would utter that – Twinkies were OK to have in our snack drawer. They were OK in my Jolly Hobby lunchbox. They were OK in many a parents’ book back then. So were the Hostess fruit pies and the Ding Dongs, with their delicate foil wrapping around that chocolate-covered chocolate cake.
Don’t even get me started on the Sno Balls.
I was once at an engagement party where a food fight broke out with the Sno Balls placed on the tables as gifts for the guests. I have no idea how that even started. This was pre-reality TV, believe it or not.
The party guests must have been bored.
The simple fact is that as Americans, many of us grew up around the Hostess Brand in some capacity. My generation from the town where I grew up will likely always remember the aroma of fresh bread baking at the Wonder facility off Shadeland Ave. That place closed a long time ago but I still remember it as if it was still baking bread. My parents’ generation probably has many more memories of Twinkies and Wonder Bread than ours can imagine.
And who wouldn’t want to hear the stories from the generation prior.
The end of the sugary snack era may be near.
Who knows, maybe a company will buy the beloved brands we feel so emotionally connected to because they remind us of our childhoods. That’s when Twinkies were filled with white gold and peanut butter and jelly on Wonder Bread tasted like heaven dipped in rainbows. Or so we thought.
Do you smell that bread baking?
– “April in Glenwood” appears every Wednesday. April E. Clark is thankful for her mother’s homemade stuffing. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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