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The History of Twinkies

Twinkies were first produced in the 1930s. The Continental Baking Company in Illinois created them as a way to use shortbread pans that had fallen into disuse; while strawberries were out of season, one of their bakers created a banana cream-filled cake using the pans, and Twinkies were born! The name “Twinkie” is said to have been inspired by a billboard for Twinkle Toe Shoes near the bakery. The company continued to use banana cream filling in their Twinkies until World War II. Due to banana shortages after imports all but ceased, the company switched to using vanilla cream in their Twinkies during the war. After the war ended, the vanilla cream remained, and it is still the dominant Twinkie flavor today. (In fact, there have only been a few alternate, limited-time flavors produced, such as chocolate, banana, and other fruits.) They have become so synonymous with American food culture that in 1999, Bill Clinton included Twinkies in the millennium time capsule. While they disappeared in 2012 due to Hostess filing for bankruptcy, the treats returned to store shelves one year later and have even been used in novelty food recipes, including deep-fried Twinkies and remixed versions of tiramisu.

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