America’s favorite…something

When I saw photographer Dwight Eschliman’s 37 or So Ingredients documenting what really goes into a Twinkie, I remembered one hot summer day, long long ago. My exhausted camp counselors made up a contest, the winner of which would receive a special prize. I can’t for the life of me remember what the contest was, but I do remember swelling with pride at being crowned winner. When handed a package of Twinkies my 10-year-old face betrayed my attempts at being a gracious winner. “Um, I can’t eat this,” I said, feeling the tears swell. “Why not?” my jealous fellow campers asked. “It’s not kosher. It has beef in it.” Everyone kind of stood around, trying to digest the idea that a cow had somehow made its way into a snack cake. After the repulsion subsided, no one wanted to eat the Twinkies, so they were left on a picnic table. Sometime in my adolescence, the beef tallow was removed and I finally tried a Twinkie. I wasn’t missing much. Growing up kosher gave me a heightened awareness of what goes into the foods I eat, and I have been the bearer of bad news to many a vegetarian. A blessing and a curse.

Now without beef tallow. Credit: Pieces of Flair