Wednesday, June 2, 2010

snack cake hell

I'd like to thank Lee "Baby" Brennise for unearthing this old post from a blog I abandoned ages ago. I think it was LiveJournal, but I can't be sure. In any case, this is the first installment from what was intended to be a three part tirade against Little Debbie. Now that this rant has been resurrected, perhaps I'll finish the other two. Enjoy!

[In 1960, McKee Foods founder O.D. McKee was trying to come up with a catchy
name for their new family-pack cartons of snack cakes. Packaging supplier
Bob Mosher suggested using a family member's name. Thinking of what could be
a good fit for the brand, O.D. arrived at the name of his 4-year-old
granddaughter Debbie. Inspired by a photo of Debbie in play clothes and her
favorite straw hat, he decided to use the name Little Debbie and the image
of her on the logo. Not until the first cartons were being printed did
Debbie's parents, Ellsworth and Sharon McKee, discover that their daughter
was the namesake of the new brand.

The first family-pack was produced in August of that year and consisted of
the original snack cake, the Oatmeal Creme Pie. Family-packs were one of the
first multiple-item baked goods available with individually wrapped
products. The cost per carton was only 49 cents. By combining a quality
product with outstanding value, Little Debbie quickly became a member of
America's households. After its initial introduction, more than 14 million
cakes were sold within 10 months. while the Oatmeal Creme Pie was the
original Little Debbie snack cake, there were 14 different varieties by
1964 including the ever-popular Nutty Bars Wafer Bars and Swiss Cake Roll.

Since 1960, Little Debbie products have remained a value leader. Currently,
they sell for less than other leading brands while providing quality
ingredients. More than 75 varieties are available with suggested retail
prices ranging from 25 cents to $2.99. Little Debbie products are available
in all 50 states, Canada and Mexico.]

It all seems pretty rosy, right? A doting Grandfather devises a marketing
strategy on the basis of his adorable granddaughter. As American as apple
pie, right? Think again. I intended to prove that beneath the wholesome
image of Little Debbie (henceforth referred to as LD for the sake of
brevity) lurks an evil so insidious, so vile in it's scope as to defy logic
and reason. Buckle the fuck up, dear readers. Here comes the carnage.

Let's begin with the obvious. Firstly, we have a Grandfather who doesn't
even tell his OWN child that his granddaughter is being used as an
advertising icon. For a company that attempts to present itself as a
wholesome, all American snack food manufacturer, this lack of communication
between family members seems counter-intuitive. Perhaps Granpa got a little
punchy on his long drives across the country, peddling his inferior wares.
"Whoops." He most likely said to himself, knuckles white on the steering
wheel, a cheap cheroot smoldering in clenched teeth. "I suppose I better get
around to mentioning that Debbie is currently having her image reproduced
hundreds of thousands of times an hour by massive printing presses. Maybe I
should have mentioned it when the image was being proofed, but what the
hell. They'll find out sooner or later. That little bitch never sent me a
thank you card for her birthday gift anyhow. Fuck them." Grandpa was clearly
a man with, shall we say, an inaccurate moral compass.

Moving on, we take note of the longevity of LD, and, for the sake of
argument, one of it's competitors, Hostess. LD was founded in 1960, an era
ushering in my most hated of societal plagues, the hippies. Doubtless they
employed a few as well, and we are all aware of the personal hygiene habits
of the standard hippie. Can you imagine the unspeakable filth that fell in
the vats of batter and cream filling, long greasy hairs trailing through
chocolate sauce and entire populations of body lice leaping into vast pools
of raspberry flavoring or oatmeal creme? It is images such as these that
wake me at night. Moreover, LD prides itself on the "value" of it's
products. anyone who has at least an eighth grade education would be aware
that in a free market economy, you get what you pay for. If the most
expensive item on the nauseating LD roster clocks in at a whopping $2.99,
you can bet you're the one getting the shaft. And most likely it is coming
to you, sealed in cellophane in the form of sawdust, bone meal, FD&C Yellow
5, and an unusually high tolerance for rodent feces and fingernail clippings.
now take a good long look at Hostess. Founded in 1925 (that's right,
asshole. 1925. Your GRANDPARENTS ate these things) Hostess began it's
illustrious career right as the dust was settling from the first world war.
These badasses not only weathered the depression unscathed, they introduced
the Twinkie right in the thick of it. They took one look at the faltering
economy and said: "Suck my fat yellow cock, wall street! Here comes a banana
filled treat that will get your mind off all this Steinbeck bullshit!
Twinkies! Fuck yeah, America!" And when World War two began and a banana
shortage occurred, do you think the CEO's locked themselves in the office,
quivering in their wingtips, lamenting the loss of a snack cake that brought
joy to millions of starving, unemployed, homeless Americans? Shit no. they
worked double time to create a new creme filling, the one still in use
today. Hostess is the gruff, crotchety grandpa who would castrate a bull
single-handedly, get kicked in the ribs, chase a hobo off his property with a
shotgun, paint the barn, and still ask for seconds of everything at dinner.
Hostess doesn't take any shit.

Furthermore, has anyone heard of Wonderbread? Suck on THAT, Debbie. I doubt
anyone thinks "America!" when they hear "cosmic brownie."

As most of you know, I thrive on predictability. I like my coffee black, my
cigarettes filterless, and my bourbon on the rocks. I take a dump promptly
at ten thirty a.m., never a moment sooner or later, and I alphabetize my
books by author. Consequentially, when I am seeking a snack cake, as I often
do, I want to encounter the same packaging, the same soothing, familiar
brand names, and expect the same delicious flavor, bite after satisfying
bite. Again, take the champion of snack foods as an example. Hostess is
primarily known for about eight products. Twinkies, Hostess cupcakes,
Ho-Ho's, Suzy Q's, Ding Dongs, Frosted Donettes, Mini Muffins, and fruit
pies. Elegant. Simple. Refined. No gimmicks needed, just a smiling, edible
yellow Sheriff with a lasso and a pair of cowboy boots. Hostess need not
introduce any new products because they have earned my trust, you fucking
asshole. When has Wonderbread ever done me harm? Never, mister, and that's
the gospel truth. Even though the bread itself was used as a vehicle to
convey massive amounts of artery clogging mayonnaise and processed meats to
my mouth, I myself made the decision to abuse the power of Wonderbread. They
even include a food pyramid guide on the packaging. LD? You might as well
receive a deadly staph infection with every bite you are brave enough to
take. Oh, I remember when LD was relatively static in regards to releasing
new products. The Star Crunch sat on the shelf, as ominous as a dark spot on
a chest x-ray, a malignancy deep in the torso of snack country. I swept it's
malicious influence deep under the rug. but now? Take a look at the "Cosmic
Brownie." I remember eating something by the same name in the Netherlands,
and when I woke up I was wearing a wig and a homeless man had taken my pants
but inexplicably given me back my wallet. Is this the kind of influence we
want our children to be subject to? And furthermore, the cosmic brownie is
nothing but a brownie...with sprinkles. Isn't this just a fucking cupcake?
What the Christ is so "cosmic" about it? No sprinkles for Hostess, mister.
Just that smiling, yellow Sheriff, lasso at the ready to lynch Debbie and
her cohorts.

Let's look at a few hard facts. Snack cake technology has come a long way
since the days of the banana creme filled Twinkie. After what I imagine to
be exhaustive research, Hostess, in it's glorious, magnanimous wisdom, has
determined that packaging their wares in twins would provide the optimum
amount of snacking pleasure. Taking a page from the ancient Greeks, they
wisely understood the concept "Nothing in excess." Two Twinkies. Two
cupcakes. Eat them both, or share one with a friend. Granted, you can
purchase bulk quantities of any fine Hostess snack cake, however, you will
find the familiar twin pack in most convenience stores, which is where snack
cakes belong, god damn you. What does LD do? How do they respond to this
tried and true method of snack cake presentation? I'll tell you how. A bunch
of passive aggressive, penis-envious, neurotic pencil dick middle management
motherfuckers got their collective panties in a twist about this shit and
devised a strategy. A) Sell these shitheaps in CASES of ten, or even twelve!
B) Make some of the snack cakes seasonal items,and C) Rip off ideas from our
snack cake overlords. If I were Hostess, I would kick a mud hole in Little
Debbies ass and stomp it dry. Look at item A. What fresh hell is this? Who
in their right mind could endure 12 stomach churning forays into the
nightmare world of Swiss Cake rolls? What sick, diabetic fiend would delight
at the prospect of suppressing the gag reflex long enough to consume not ONE,
but TWELVE Nutty Bars? As if this weren't an affront enough to basic
civilized behavior, we are now forced to confront the horror of item B.
Seasonal snack cakes? Really, Debbie? Do you actually believe people will
line up between the months of January to June to stuff a revolting
"strawberry" cupcake into their snack holes? Why don't you just package
used, sugared tampons, you vile fascist? Or perhaps wait with baited breath
until July, when you are free to buy the abomination that is the "orange"
flavored cupcake. At least until December. C'mon, Debbie. The jig is up.
With the advent of mobile refrigeration, nothing is seasonal anymore. And
since when does artificial "orange" flavor go out of season? What the fuck
is going on here?

I'll tell you what's going on. Yup. I'm going to say it. It's the homosexual
agenda. LD actually markets a snack cake known by the thinly veiled name
"Fancy Cakes." Well, Debbie, you might as well emblazon a big pink frosted
triangle on these things. Fancy Cakes? Who are you fooling? The next thing
you know, you'll be peddling "Sectarian Violence Fudge Whirls" or some other
decidedly un-American snack cake. Perhaps "Anti-Imperialist Apple Turnovers"
or "Lemony Left-leaning De-lites." Be assured that Hostess is looking at you
with a cautious eye, Debbie. Beneath that straw hat we are likely to find a
hand grenade and a copy of Mao's quotations. What you need is a good, stern
talking to by some members of the John Birch society. Well, that and some
jumper cables attached to your nipples and a thorough beating with a length
of garden hose.

Just when you thought this cavalcade of sub-par, Lovecraftian horrors could
get no worse, enter "Raspberry Angel Food Cake." It is difficult for me to
express the horror, the intimate knowledge that something was so terribly
wrong as to defy description when I first encountered this product. I will
cut to the chase. A Twinkie. Filled with Raspberry filling. Same loaf shape.
Same three filling holes in the bottom. What malicious ghoul dreamed this
abortion up? How foul must a human be, to what extent are you crippled by
character flaws of such epic proportions as to foist this charade on an
unsuspecting public?

Owing to the limited attention span of both myself and my loyal readers, I
will thusly end this installment of my snack related tirade. Stay tuned for
chapter two, when I draw parallels between genocide and the Star Crunch.

John Wreisner


  1. I like how this accidentally got posted in a format that makes it look like an epic poem. Sort of "The Gilgamesh of snack cake rants."