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Is it me or the Twinkie?
July 11, 2007 1:34 PM   Subscribe

Twinkies, have the ingredients changed?

They don't taste quite like they did. Twinkies and Ding Dongs and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Coke. The aroma, the fantastic first bite. I figured it was cuz I was a grown up. The sweet flavors seem flatter and less textured now.

But I'm wondering. Maybe they really ARE different.

I don't suppose anyone has a ingredients list for a Twinkie in 1985 to compare with today, but is there anyway to find out if the ingredients have changed?
posted by esereth to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
High-fructose corn syrup was approved by the FDA in 1983. I would assume that the HFCS, rather than sugar, is the difference.
posted by occhiblu at 1:36 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


If you like the taste of the original, cane sugar Coke, you can buy in the spring at Passover time. Look for bottles marked Kosher for Passover - since no corn is allowed, they substitute cane sugar. True aficianados stock up annually.
posted by metahawk at 1:40 PM on July 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


HFCS.
It makes a HUGE difference.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 1:48 PM on July 11, 2007


Or hop across the border to Canada, where soft drinks are still made with sugar.
posted by solid-one-love at 1:53 PM on July 11, 2007


Or buy Mexican Coke, also made with sugar.

Or Dublin Dr Pepper, the one with the "Imperial Cane Sugar" logo on it.

If Sweet Leaf tea ever starts using HFCS, I will never buy it again. The mouth-coatiness of drinks with HFCS is icky.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:57 PM on July 11, 2007


Or anywhere else in the world. It was a real bummer to come back to the US from a year abroad and realize that American products like Snickers, Coke, etc. don't taste as good in America as they do everywhere else.

In addition, HFCS is (according to most sources) terrible for you.
posted by atomly at 1:58 PM on July 11, 2007


You can also get cane sugar coke at Mexican bodegas in NYC.
posted by spec80 at 2:03 PM on July 11, 2007


It could be you as well as the Twinkie. Children have "higher sensitivity ... due to a greater density of fungiform papillae and taste pores (buds)" if I am reading this correctly.

And this site simply states that "The average person has about 10,000 taste buds and they're replaced every 2 weeks or so. But as a person ages, some of those taste cells don't get replaced. An older person may only have 5,000 working taste buds. That's why certain foods may taste stronger to you than they do to adults. Smoking also can reduce the number of taste buds a person has."
posted by bobobox at 2:05 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


I can ask my dad about the Twinkies. He's been eating one a day with his lunch since he was in high school. (He's well into his 60s now.)
posted by sperose at 2:07 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's probably HFCS or that lack of taste buds. But, maybe you've finally figured out that this stuff just doesn't taste good.

It's kind of like Berke Breathed wondering , during the Cola Wars of the 1980s, why people got worked up over Coke and Pepsi, both of which, he said, taste like malted battery acid.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:30 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was going to ask a question about this too.

It seems that whenever I bite into a Snickers the only flavor I perceive is OMFG SWEET! PAINFULLY SWEET!

It seems that the chocolate should taste like chocolate, that caramel should have subtle burnt sugar notes, but none of these flavors can compete with the DEADLY SWEETNESS OF HFCS! Hell, the overload of corn syrup even out-competes the peanuts.

I wonder what a Snickers from the 60's or 70's tasted like.
posted by sourwookie at 2:42 PM on July 11, 2007


fiercecupcake: mostly true, but you have to be careful: some mexican sodas that are sold at relatively high prices because of the sugar association actually use HFCS now. I found this out the hard way with a bottle of Mexican Pepsi recently.
posted by invitapriore at 2:57 PM on July 11, 2007


I remember reading (or hearing on the radio?) something, somewhere along this line of questioning. The official answer was that each factory changes the formula slightly, to compensate for climate differences. So twinkie filling has slightly different texture/flavor depending on where they are made.

Man, I wish I could remember where I got that from.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 3:25 PM on July 11, 2007


Someone actually wrote a book about what goes into a Twinkie. I haven't read it, but if he doesn't discuss the issue of whether the ingredients have changed in the book, you might want to e-mail him.

The book website.

Interview.

I know that they also changed the filling back to Banana Creme recently, so that may be what you're tasting.
posted by longdaysjourney at 3:27 PM on July 11, 2007


I've run into the same issue invitapriore has. Some of the English ingredient labels they stick on the side of the Cokes imported from Mexico list HFCS.
posted by Carbolic at 3:28 PM on July 11, 2007


Another change is the rampaging against various forms of fat. They used to make a lot of those kinds of things using lard. Then they switched to hydrogenated vegetable shortening. Now they can't use that, either (can you say "Transfat"?) and the problem is that what they can use doesn't work as well. Also, they don't use as much fat in those things as they used to.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 3:40 PM on July 11, 2007


sourwookie, they used to taste mostly like peanuts, with a distinct caramel. Not so much anymore.
posted by astruc at 3:59 PM on July 11, 2007


[added the word twinkies to the question so it's not jus tin the title - hope that's okay.]
posted by jessamyn at 4:29 PM on July 11, 2007


I have to second in inedible nature of the modern Snickers. Every once and awhile I forget how much they suck now, and try one again. Sigh. As sourwookie said, SWEEEEEEEEET and not much else.
posted by rokusan at 5:09 PM on July 11, 2007


I remember reading (or hearing on the radio?) something, somewhere along this line of questioning. The official answer was that each factory changes the formula slightly, to compensate for climate differences. So twinkie filling has slightly different texture/flavor depending on where they are made.

Man, I wish I could remember where I got that from.


This is a shot in the dark, but is it possible that you read Paul Lucas's old 'zine, "Beer Frame"? i know that's where I heard this originally.
posted by macrowave at 11:18 PM on July 11, 2007


The ingredients list a mystery mix of beef fat, lard, and partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. The variation in this balance (and the use of HFCS instead of sugar as mentioned above) could easily account for the difference in taste.
posted by rxrfrx at 4:56 AM on July 12, 2007


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