As an American, I was, of course, thrilled — not to mention relieved — to see that Hostess Twinkies and other factory confections will be back on our grocers’ shelves real soon, a sale having been approved to save these national culinary treasures. However, as a New Yorker, I have, in these months of paucity, been far more concerned about the fate of Hostess’ regional arch-competitor and eventual companion brand, Drake’s.
In its mastery of the many ways in which devil’s food cake and cream filling could be blended, Drake’s remains unmatched. The moistness of a Yankee Doodle made it completely unsuitable for police interrogation, unlike the quartz-based Hostess cupcake, which typically engendered the state of deprivation made famous in a “got milk?” commercial remembered for its discomfiting verisimilitude. Sure, that white squiggle was pretty.
But snack cake beauty is only cream deep.
When I was growing up in Brooklyn — the magic land wherein the duck-logoed company was born — Drake’s held a contest soliciting commercial ideas from its cadre of northeastern acolytes. My underdeveloped brain thunk it might be funny to suggest that, due to their gloriously mushy creaminess, Devil Dogs could be utilized not just for dining but could also be pestled down and used for shaving, something that wouldn’t be possible with the output of less emollient brands from other regions, like Little Debbie. My ever-supportive school chum, now a TV comedy writer, told me it was a terrible idea and I never submitted it.
Recently, I confronted him with the memory of this condemnation and he not only pled amnesia, he belatedly pronounced the idea funny. I can’t help thinking that if I’d submitted it, Drake’s might still be alive today.
Now it turns out, in the keenest of ironies, that Hostess has agreed to sell Drake’s brands to a bidder other than the one that purchased Twinkies.
Amazingly, to the owner of Little Debbie, who will finally have a shaving product to round out her lineup of snacks.