R.I.P. St. Louis Hostess Plant; Most Delicious Field Trip EVER!
"Those Twinkies are sold to farmers and fed to hogs."
Fed to hogs!? The blasphemy! No sooner had the words left our tour guide's lips than half the kids in our class rushed the conveyor belt and furiously began stuffing their faces with Twinkies. We had to. It was that or let the spongy yellow goodness end up as pig slop.
Alarm bells rang. Mrs. Robin freaked out. Parent chaperones grabbed us by the scruff and tossed us back toward the factory floor. The foreman on the Twinkie belt shut down the line. And our gracious, but clearly frazzled, tour guide quickly wrapped up our visit.
Yet unlike the bad children visiting Willy Wonka's candy factory, we were rewarded all the same. Each of us got a Hostess treat of his or her choosing to eat before boarding the bus for the journey back to school.
I remember sitting toward the back of the bus -- enjoying the sugar buzz of a Twinkie -- when we passed by the old Vess bottling plant in north St. Louis. It was the first time I'd ever seen the gigantic soda bottle that stood outside the plant. I remember thinking to myself then, "Wow. St. Louis has a Hostess factory and what has to be the biggest soda bottle in the world? This place is pretty sweet."
Thirty years later I still think the same, even if we're losing some of our flavor with the closure of the Hostess plant.
R.I.P. Ding Dong Palace. You'll always survive -- in our memories.
P.S. Do you have your own favorite memory of the Hostess bakery? Leave it in the comments section.