While walking after school from P.S. 6 to my mother's jewelry store on 86th street and Lexington Ave. – seven or so blocks – I usually stopped for a Nestles Crunch or a Ring Ding.
I loved the taste of Nestles Crunch (still do), but Ring Dings provided a more total experience. After unwrapping the cellophane, I admired the perfect swirl of chocolate on a Ring Ding. The devil's food cake, chocolate frosting and creme filling were delicious. Never mind that the Ring Ding landed in my stomach like the hockey puck that it resembled. I don't think we considered that it was bad for us. This was perfect junk food before there even was such a label.
Twinkies, on the other hand, were always a bit too much. So were Sno Balls. And let's not leave out Hostess cupcakes and Wonder Bread.
Were you a Paul or John person, a George or Ringo person, a Twinkies, cupcake, or a Ring Ding person? These were important questions. (Hardly anyone picked poor Ringo.)
These musings are inspired by the closing of Hostess Brands, which, based in Irving, Tex., announced yesterday that it was stopping production after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after being unable to negotiate its labor contracts with unions, including one that went on strike.
If we were to eat a Hostess treat now (or maybe you're still eating them), perhaps it would be like Proust and his madeleine, opening up our remembrance of sticky fingers and school days.
You could go to right now to the supermarket, buy one of the last Hostess brands available and keep it on your shelf forever due to the plethora of chemical compounds that don't go bad, although the company says that the shelf life of Twinkies, Ring Dings, Sno Balls and cupcakes is only about 20 days.
But I am happier to hold the Ring Ding in memory and eat my Nestles Crunch.