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RIP: A Brief History of the Twinkie

RIP: A Brief History of the Twinkie

From the very beginnings to the very end, here are some tidbits about the classic cake before it disappears

Illustration by Nathan Cyphert

Twinkie (and Ding Dongs, and Wonderbread) mothership Hostess has finally called it quits after a year's worth of struggling to stay in business.

In memoriam, here's a quick recap of everything that's happened in Twinkie history, from the inception to the ultimate demise. Will someone step in please? We're worried about future cockroaches after the world ends.

1930: The Twinkie was invented. James Dewar, a Hostess baking manager in Chicago, reportedly wanted to use shortcake pans outside of strawberry season, so he just decided to put cream filling in, sans strawberries. They started selling at two Twinkies for a nickel.

1978: The term "Twinkie defense" is coined during Dan White's trial for the murder of Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone, used when criminal defense attorneys try to argue that an unusual factor (like eating too many Twinkies, causing a sugar rush) should be blamed for a crime.

Fast-forward to 1984: Ghostbusters creates the Big Twinkie theory.

1990: The Blue Man Group feasts on Twinkies, which get spewed out in an endless cycle of gross Twinkie consumption.

2002: A Brooklyn restaurant creates deep-fried Twinkies, spawning imitations at country fairs around the country.

2004: Hostess files for bankruptcy protection for the first time.

2008: A Twinkie simultaneously grosses us out and warms our heart as a cockroach's bed/food source in Wall-E.

2009: The cakes earn post-apocalyptic cult status in Zombieland.

2011: Ferran Adrià declares his love for Twinkies. Food reputation, solidified.

Jan. 2012: Hostess files for Chapter 11.

2012: Wendy Williams goes on a quest to save them. Obviously fails.

Aug. 2012: Hostess runs into more problems as creditors work with the Teamsters union to come up with a workers wage deal.

Nov. 2012: Hostess finally calls it quits, saying, "We are sorry to announce that Hostess Brands, Inc. has been forced by a Bakers Union strike to shut down all operations and sell all company assets," on a very sad landing page for the website.


Bacon History

Bacon or "bacoun" was a Middle English term used to refer to all pork in general. The term bacon comes from various Germanic and French dialects. It derives from the French bako, Old High German bakko, and Old Teutonic backe, all of which refer to the back. There are breeds of pigs particularly raised for bacon, notably the Yorkshire and Tamworth.

The phrase “bring home the bacon” comes from the 12th century when a church in Dunmow, England offered a side of bacon to any man who could swear before God and the congregation that he had not fought or quarreled with his wife for a year and a day. Any man that could "bring home the bacon" was highly respected in his community.


Twinkies originally had a banana filling

The Twinkies that we know and love today are filled with an enticing vanilla cream filling, but that wasn't always the case. When Twinkies were first released in the '30s, their filling was banana flavored. Not only that, but it was made with real bananas and real cream. Unfortunately, that didn't last long. During WWII bananas were rationed, making it difficult for Continental Baking Company — the name of the company before acquisitions lead to the name Hostess Brands — to keep up with supply and demand. That's when the company turned to a vanilla cream filling as their go-to flavor and never looked back.

Since then Twinkies have released several special editions of their cream filling including strawberry creme, chocolate creme, blue raspberry creme, and even the original flavor, banana creme. If you were expecting the banana creme to be a throwback with traditional flavoring methods I'm sorry to disappoint, but the banana creme is now two percent or less banana puree. Fans didn't seem to mind too much though. When they brought back the banana flavored Twinkies in 2007 to help promote the movie King Kong, sales spiked 20 percent. Coincidence? Ask King Kong.


Twinkies Prepping for Bankruptcy: Everything You Need to Know

Hostess Brands, the creator of magical marvels of modern science such as Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread, filed for bankruptcy protection today in New York.

This marks the second time within several years that the company has tipped into Chapter 11. (In legal parlance, the second time around is referred to as "Chapter 22." Get it?)

Here is a rundown of highlights and lowlights of Hostess's history so far.

So Many Treats: In addition to the aforementioned Twinkies and Wonder Bread, Hostess Brands also makes schoolyard favorites Ding Dongs, Ho Hos, Suzy Q's, Fruit Pies, Sno Balls, Dolly Madison Zingers and Drake's cakes. (We've always wondered: Aren't Suzy Q's essentially the same as Ding Dongs, which are the same as Ho Hos, which are the same as Drake's Rings Dings, also owned by Hostess?) And lest you think Hostess is just stuffing our faces with junk, the company also owns healthier brands such as Nature's Pride breads.


Community Reviews

WELCOME TO APRIL PROJECT! PART 1

but first - let&aposs take a second to squee over the april page in the allie brosh calendar. so cute!

for april, the same general floater-warning applies, with some amendments:

this is my april project, so it&aposs gonna pop up every now and then throughout the month. however, because this one is a cookbook rather than a drawing, coloring, or maggie-centric project book, i&aposm likely not going to do one a day. that&aposs just too many twinkies! but i will do at least two a wee WELCOME TO APRIL PROJECT! PART 1

but first - let's take a second to squee over the april page in the allie brosh calendar. so cute!

for april, the same general floater-warning applies, with some amendments:

this is my april project, so it's gonna pop up every now and then throughout the month. however, because this one is a cookbook rather than a drawing, coloring, or maggie-centric project book, i'm likely not going to do one a day. that's just too many twinkies! but i will do at least two a week, unless i do, in fact, need surgery, and that'll just screw everything up, so fingers crossed that my body will heal itself. and, yes, i will miss my maggie adventures, but i guarantee you that some cat hair is going to find its way into these recipes, so she will be with us all in spirit.

i'm picking and choosing what to make from this book for reasons of time and practicality. as lovely as this is, i ain't making a twinkie wedding cake:

and the twinkie sushi looks cute, but probably tastes gross, and i learned my lesson with that tang toast debacle.

and i feel like i just missed the timing on the twinkie easter egg hunt

there's also a turkey stuffed with a twinkie-cornbread stuffing, but spring doesn't seem like the right time for that.

additionally, i bemoan the fact that my deep fryer is no longer here, because there are a few that require one that i would love to make, particularly the deep-fried bacon-wrapped chocolate-covered twinkies which sound amazing. true culinary fact-the more hyphens a recipe name has, the tastier it is.

ALSO, i need to find someone to let me use their microwave so i can make the chocolate hazelnut twinkie s'mores. why aren't there public microwave huts available? someone get on that.

but never fear, there are still many many recipes to explore.

the most challenging thing about this project is keeping sean of the house out of the twinkies EVEN THOUGH i have so many easter snacks and ridiculous treats lying around that he is permitted to eat, he keeps making a move towards the twinkie boxes and i need to keep swatting him with a spatula.

but so enough of that-let the great twinkie adventure begin!

CHICKEN-RASPBERRY TWINKIE SALAD

this is how it looks in the book

and of course, maggie is all investigative as i'm getting my mise together…no, maggie, your project was LAST MONTH!

so you end up with some salsa

a real white trash 'raspberry vinaigrette'

and some chicken mixed with the twinkie cream and jam and balsamic which looked pretty gross

but everything looks prettier covered in salsa and cheese!

they look a little dodgy, but they were unexpectedly tasty. who knew jalapeños and twinkies were a good match?

and serving them on a bed of greens makes them healthy!

i gave some to greg, and he declared them to be 'yummy.' sean of the house wouldn't even try them. he only likes twinkies in their natural state, preferably pilfered. but i say yum.

CHOCOLATE TWINKIE PUDDING

in the slow cooker, ready to go:

and you will use way more chocolate chips than the recipe calls for. because who wants open chocolate chip bags cluttering up the cupboards?

and this is what will happen:

it's incredibly rich and dense

and doesn't slide off of the spoon at all. and it kind of looks like a little bear.

also delicious. and somehow tastes like there's alcohol in it, even though there is not

FROZEN YOGURT TWINKIE POP

even a broken-backed old lady can make it!

TWINKIE TUNNEL BUNDT CAKE

this is how it looks in the book

it gets all messy and textured in the baking process

with cutie twinkie-peeksies!

then invert, dust with confectioner's sugar

the recipe is pretty simple - make sausages, slice off ends of twinkies and then. sexxytime

maggie is scandalized next to me on my messy sickbed

then you bake 'em and add some maple syrup

these are tasty. very sweet, but tasty.

so, you make the brownies and then you scoff at the "microwave" step and make your caramel sauce in a wobbly poorgirl 'double boiler'

and you layer everything together

and you cover it with a mixture of whipped cream and hot cocoa powder

it's in the fridge now - getting ready for me to devour it. i will report back!

here is what it looks like in cross-section:

this is the most delicious one yet. i have fed it to greg, connor, and sean of the house and everyone has been over the moon about it. most definitely a keeper, and it has singlehandedly made the entire project worth it.

this is how it looks in the book

i was really looking forward to this one it's that kind of sweet/savory mashing i so enjoy. i'm following the recipes here faithfully, even when i think it would be better to do it my way, so when this one said "frozen beef patty," that's what i used, even though it was a little thinner than i typically like my meat. so you divide one beef patty among three twinkie bottoms

top with hot sauce mixture while maggie looks on-and yes, i attempted a fancy fine dining sauce-smear, but did not quite pull it off. and also dropped some on my table.

but it still looked magnificent. formidable

it just wasn't as delicious as i'd hoped. it was in no way disgusting, but i think there needed to be a "remove the cream" step. the twinkie cake/bacon combo was a winner, but the cream pushed it into "too-sweet" territory. and brie is not the right cheese. or i just messed up the proportions. the sauce was too spicy and the bacon and hamburger too savory and they ended up overpowering the mild flavor of the brie. the texture was nice, but that's all i was getting from the brie.

a little disappointing, but if i decide to make it again, i know how to improve it.

**this project is facing a terrible setback. apparently, there is a twinkie shortage no one told me about. today i went to NINE different stores in my neighborhood - five grocery stores and three duane reade/rite aid stores, risking my poor busted back AND my friendship with greg, who i enlisted to help me walk and to carry things i'm not supposed to be carrying, and we did not manage to find a single box of twinkies. i had enough here to make two additional recipes today, and tomorrow i am going to take the subway to some stores i am confident will have them, but i'm a bit concerned - where have all the twinkies gone??**

this is how it looks in the book

here is the process - cover halved twinkies with cream cheese/condensed milk mixture

nuts-i used peanuts because the recipe called for 'brazil nuts or other nuts (optional)' which is. nuts, because whose go-to recipe nut is the brazil nut? can you even buy brazil nuts? don't they only exist to be flicked outta the mixed nuts in favor of the noble cashew? (gesundheit)

more cherry pie filling and more nuts

i haven't tried it yet, but i will report back.

not the prettiest cross-section, but it was damn tasty!

CRAZY TWINKIE CAPRESE BITES

this is the one i was dreading the most

you will need (the brown stuff in the plastic lid is finely-crumbled bacon)

fry (note to youse-twinkies fry up FAST and can burn very easily if you get distracted with other things)

like making a balsamic reduction

maybe not the most masterfully-plated dish

this was not as disgusting as i thought it would be and somehow, against all expectations, sean loved them. which was good because i burned more than a few of them and he enjoys the taste of char more than i do. i don't think i'd make them again, but at least i didn't frow up, and i have a ton of balsamic reduction to use on something tastier.

TWINKIE ORANGE BAVARIAN DREAM

greg, maybe don't look at this part

then slap it in the fridge to set and cover it with pretty in a few hours

this is greg's favorite so far. it can be made with any jello flavor, so i may test some others

this is basically 'make french toast out of twinkies!'

oh, and they are deliiiiiicious

maybe even the best one yet!

NO-BAKE TWINKIE TURTLE CAKE
you will need

look familiar? they all pretty much start out this way

add pudding

add toasted pecans

add caramel

add whipped cream and chocolate chips. refrigerate.

this one got . weird.

i don't know if it's because i got cook & serve pudding instead of instant pudding and it hadn't cooled properly before i put it in the fridge or if i'm being punished for having no pudding brand-loyalty

but the pudding got gelatinous, there was a caramel flood and everything was cray

I received an e-copy of this from netgalley for review purposes.

Ohh, and kinda sucky, but I can&apost actually write a review until the week this is published.

I will say that I super-liked the book/recipes. They&aposre trashy and kitschy. My birthday is coming up. I might make a twinkie dessert for it. I received an e-copy of this from netgalley for review purposes.

Ohh, and kinda sucky, but I can't actually write a review until the week this is published.

I will say that I super-liked the book/recipes. They're trashy and kitschy. My birthday is coming up. I might make a twinkie dessert for it. . more

Thanks #netgalley for providing #thetwinkiescookbook for review! This is a new edition to celebrate Twinkies&apos 85th anniversary and resurrection.

A cute and fun (if not overly enticing to the tastebuds) look into the history and culture of that American icon the Twinkie. After a brief and entertaining look into the origins of this legendary treat, readers will enjoy perusing the multitudes of creative ways fans and desperate housewives have found to incorporate the gooey, golden, processed food in Thanks #netgalley for providing #thetwinkiescookbook for review! This is a new edition to celebrate Twinkies' 85th anniversary and resurrection.

A cute and fun (if not overly enticing to the tastebuds) look into the history and culture of that American icon the Twinkie. After a brief and entertaining look into the origins of this legendary treat, readers will enjoy perusing the multitudes of creative ways fans and desperate housewives have found to incorporate the gooey, golden, processed food into their own desserts. Truly, these recipes are the things State Fair dreams are made of! . more

Like almost any other American, I love me some Twinkies! I was heartbroken when Hostess went away, and I&aposm so excited that all the products that we have come to know and love as a nation have come back! (Well, almost all. One day, they will bring back my beloved Apple Spice Cupcakes. I digress.) I also love to bake, so I was really excited to get my hands on this book.

First, the good. This book is divided into easy-to-search sections: Cake, Pie, Fruit, Chocolate, Cream, Meat, and Novelty. The bo Like almost any other American, I love me some Twinkies! I was heartbroken when Hostess went away, and I'm so excited that all the products that we have come to know and love as a nation have come back! (Well, almost all. One day, they will bring back my beloved Apple Spice Cupcakes. I digress.) I also love to bake, so I was really excited to get my hands on this book.

First, the good. This book is divided into easy-to-search sections: Cake, Pie, Fruit, Chocolate, Cream, Meat, and Novelty. The book also starts out with a really nice history about the Hostess company and how it started, flourished, and came back after it had closed down. It was really interesting to learn about all this, because it wasn't something that I was familiar with. I also appreciated that the recipes included in this cookbook were submissions taken from fans of Twinkies. There's a fair amount of photos, but there aren't photos for every creation.

Unfortunately, because these are submissions, the recipes were really, really hit or miss for me. Some steps were really well explained, others weren't. Most of them weren't very homemade, calling for recipes such as a box of cake mix or instant pudding. In addition, some of the recipes were pretty basic. Some examples of this include kebabs, which is just chunked Twinkies and some fruit and Twinkie burritos, which involves a snack cake and a tortilla. I was expecting some more creative uses for Twinkies, and I felt that for most of these recipes, I didn't need a recipe or would never use it anyway.

That said, there is a Ribbon and Bows Twinkie Wedding Cake that is absolutely gorgeous, and props to the person who came up with it. I definitely never would have thought of that!

Some of the recipes that I'd definitely love to try include No Bake Twinkie Pumpkin Pie, Twinkie Berry Forest Ice Cream, and Deep-Fried Bacon-Wrapped Chocolate-Covered Twinkies. I mean, it's Twinkies, bacon, chocolate, and fried all in one. How can you go wrong?

I'd recommend this maybe for those who throw a lot of kids parties/room moms because a lot of these are pretty quick to make, but look really cute. If you're looking for a bit more complicated recipes, this isn't the right book for you. Overall, I think I'd keep it on a shelf if I had gotten it as some sort of mail-in prize or promotional contest or something from Hostess, but I wouldn't buy it myself.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This review can also be found on my blog, Bitches n Prose. . more

Twinkies, my absolute favorite cream filled treat, aside from Suzy Q&aposs. I love them, I have been known to sit and eat a half of a box of these little treats. I am of an age that I remember when they were a lot cheaper and a lot bigger, Almost twice the size they are now and 10 cents a package. I was so disappointed when in 2012, 82 years after they were invented, the little golden delight was no longer going to be made. How awful, an end of an era if you will, at least for the Twinkie. There was Twinkies, my absolute favorite cream filled treat, aside from Suzy Q's. I love them, I have been known to sit and eat a half of a box of these little treats. I am of an age that I remember when they were a lot cheaper and a lot bigger, Almost twice the size they are now and 10 cents a package. I was so disappointed when in 2012, 82 years after they were invented, the little golden delight was no longer going to be made. How awful, an end of an era if you will, at least for the Twinkie. There was even a petition asking President Obama to nationalize the Twinkie industry in the hopes to keep it open. The company was saved and as of July 15th 2013, they were back!!

Why are Twinkies special? They just are, simple as that. They are vintage, totally no good for you but ohhhh so good, I still love them even though I don't eat them much anymore. The Twinkie was invented by James A. Dewar, who drove a horse drawn pound cake wagon for Continental Baking Company outside of Chicago. The company was looking for a snack that was inexpensive that would appeal to people in the tight economy. So they used their shortcake pans and make the cakes originally with a banana cream center. because bananas were available all year round. At some point the filling changed to what they are filled with now.

On to the cookbook, well what can I say? In these 194 pages you will find an assortment of recipes. All the recipes use the Twinkies in some form. For the Twinkie Carrot Cake Cookies, the Twinkies are completely dismantled and redistributed using a food processor. You can make Pineapple Upside Down Cake Twinkies, Twinkie Cherry Pie, and you can even make a Chocolate Twinkie Pudding using a slow cooker, who knew? Twinkling Turkey, sure why not? Then there is Dave's Twinkie Burger. hmmm. Well maybe it is good.

As I was going through this unique cookbook, I was amazed at all the creativity, easy to follow recipes, but nothing in the way of Nutritional Information. Well I think with most of these recipes, I don't want to know. I thought that this cookbook is amazing. Maybe one day I will be brave enough to try one of the recipes! I recommend this book to the person like me who love vintage things, they book belongs on everyone's cookbook shelve right next to Betty Crocker!

I received a copy of this cookbook from Netgalley and was not monetarily compensated for my review.
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Eight Tray (83) Gangster Crip – Los Angeles

Westside Eight Trey (83) Gangster Crips are a predominately African-American street gang, founded during the mid 1970s as a splinter gang off the Original West Side Crips, that included Stanley “Tookie” Williams, Big Bob the Hawk, Melvin Farmer, Judson Bacot, Angelo “Barefoot Pookie” White and Mad Dog.

Kody “Monster” Scott (aka Sanyika Shakur), a member of this gang wrote a popular autobiography entitled An Autobiography of an L.A. Gangs Member while he was in prison during the late 1980s and early 1990s and in 2006 the rights to his book were sold and adopted into a screen play.

According to Shakur’s book, an O/G named Big Sidewinder was the founder who created this neighborhood which was a split off from the West Side Crips (p. 80). The gang started on 83rd Street but spanned north and south stretching from roughly Gage to Century, covering over 40 city blocks similar to the old boundaries of the West Side Crips. Over the years, they formed several sub-clicks including the Original South Side, Deep South Side, Bacc West Side, Far West Side and Nutty North Side. A section of their turf extends west past Western Avenue where St Andrews Park is located.

Scott has appeared on BET, 20th Century, and 60 minutes, and several other programs and magazines discussing his experiences in the Eight Tray Crips addressing the gang situation in Los Angeles. His younger brother, Kershaun “Lil Monster” Scott has been a part of the the peace movement and was involved in the gang truce of 1992.

Monster (b. 1963) was named to the top 10 most wanted gang members February 7, 2007 and was arrested on March 7, 2007 for assault and car-jacking. Because of his popularity the City of LA made a political decision to place Scott on the list above other gang members wanted for murder. According to the LAPD press release (March 8, 2007) Scott was identified on the 7600 block of Brighton Street by a tipster and was later apprehended. The LAPD also stated that Scott had been in and out of prison for 26 years of his life and that he was the “self proclaimed founder” of the Eight Tray Gangster Crips. Lil Monster appeared in the HBO documentary, Bastards of the Party (2005).

Because of the media popularity of this gang, it is one of the most reported Los Angeles based Crip gangs in the United States having been identified in Denver, CO Aurora, CO Hennepin, Minnesota Harris County, TX Wichita, KS St. Louis, MO Albuquerque, NM and Portland, OR. These other gangs are not connected to Los Angeles and are not part of a national network. Youth from these cities have adapted this identity because of its popularity.

The Rollin 60s Crips are their main rivals and this conflict goes back to 1979. It is one of the biggest and most fierce rivalries between any two gangs in the County. Although there have been some new conflict during the 21st Century that has been extremely violent, such as the Blood Stone Villain vs. Pueblos Bloods and the East Coast Crips vs. Florence, the conflict between the 60s and 83s are among two of the largest gangs in Los Angeles and has existed for over 30 years unabated.

Lil Crip Toe talks about growing up in ETG hood from the Far West side, 2014

The rivalry between the Rollin 60s and Eight Trays has become a rivalry between N-Hood Crips and Gangster Crips, which extends the conflict from the two gangs into a regional one. This rivalry is discussed in Scott’s book Autobiography of an LA Gang Member and Donald Bakeer’s book, Crips.

Thus far, a truce or a cease fire between these 2 sets has not been implemented, but if possible a truce between all “Gangster Crip” sets that fall under the Eight Trays, and the N-Hood sets which fall under the Rollin Sixties would be revolutionary.

The ETG are also rivals to all “Rollin 0s” gangs which would include the Rollin 40s, Rollin 30s and the Rollin 90s. Their rivalry “NeighborHood” or “NH” gangs included the 67 NeighborHood Crips (67 NHC), located on the north side of their territory.

They are rivals to all Blood gangs but their main Blood rivalry is with the Inglewood Family Gang (IFG) located to the west of their territory but it must be noted that their rivalry with the Rollin’ 60s Crips is stronger than with any blood gang. The IFGs are attributed for the first ETG casualty (Autobiography of an LA Gang Member, p. 28) which predates their rivalry with the Sixties (1979). Their Crip rivalries include: Rollin 30’s, 40NH, 55NH, 57NH, 58NH, 60NH, 67NH, 90NH, 100’S NH, NH103HTHC, 111NH, 112NH, 115NH, UnderGround Crips, BCG, Menlo Crips, BudLong Crips, Geer Gang, 99 Mafia Crips, and 87 Gangsta Crips.

Graffiti of the 83 Gangster Crips crossed out by 67 NHC, 2002


Deceased member of ETG

  1. 8-Ball ( – July 1981)
  2. Lady Capp, shot by rival Crip
  3. Baby China
  4. Cheeseburger
  5. Big Criz ( ), died as a result of a fire.
  6. Baby Criz ( – 2005), from Back Westside, died in car accident on Normandie.
  7. Cocaine ( – 1981)
  8. D.B.
  9. Dirty Butch ( – 1981)
  10. Fat Rat ( – 2005)
  11. G-May ( – ), shot and killed on 76th Street & Dalton
  12. Lil Gun Slinger ( – ), shot and killed on 97th Street & Normandie
  13. Tiny J Lok
  14. Kay-O ( – 2015)
  15. Lucky ( – 1979)
  16. Lil Macaveli ( – 2005), shot and killed by 99 Mafias on Vermont & Century
  17. Baby Moe
  18. Martha
  19. Roach
  20. A.J. “Baby Set Trip” (-)
  21. Rayford “Sidewinder” Miles, 58 ( – October 1, 2016), died from health complications related to cancer.
  22. Baby Sodi
  23. Cedric Raynard “Tit Tit” Diggs, 17 (June 9, 1963 – Aug 23, 1980), shot and killed by Rollin 60s member
  24. James “Twinky” Cameron, 16 (Feb. 29, 1964 – Oct. 26, 1980), shot and killed by Rollin 60s member
  25. Wicc 1
  26. Young Country
  27. Young Evil, died of cancer
  28. Young Solo (- 2005)
  29. Young Teardrop ( – 2012)
  30. Shannon Hatley, 14 (Feb. 4, 1965 – Apr. 15, 1979), believed to have been killed by an Inglewood Family Blood member
  31. Mykel “G-Wit-It” Washington, 24 ( – June 10, 2015), shot and killed on 88th Street & Vermont


Lil Sodi recently released from prison from a gun case, 2017


Judson Bacot explains early conflict between ETGs and Rollin 60s, 2017


Any hope for Neighborhood 60s and Eight Tray Gangster truce, 2017


Monster Kody from Eight Tray Gangster Crips spits freestyle before his recent incarceration, 2017

OG G.T. on Chevy lowriders and Eight Tray Gangsters Crips history on Florence & Normandie, 2017


Original Westside/Eight Trays from Florence & Normandie on 25-years after 1992 Uprising, 2017


The 5 sides (clicks) of Eight Tray Gangster Crip’s neighborhood in South Los Angeles, 2017


Hostess, maker of Twinkies and Ding Dongs, says closing business

Adieu, Twinkies, at least for now. Hostess Brands said Friday it has asked a court's OK to liquidate the company, spelling the possible end for the iconic, yellow, cream-filled delight.

The move shuts down one of the nation's oldest and largest producers of baked goods. Founded in 1930, it produces such well-known brands, aside from Twinkies, as Ding-Dongs, Ho Ho's, Sno Balls and Donettes, not to mention Wonder bread, which the company says is the best-selling white bread in the United States.

In a statement, Hostess said its bakery operations have been suspended at all plants and that it would lay off most of its 18,500 workers to focus on selling its assets. It said it has filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking permission to close its business and sell its assets, including 33 bakeries and 565 distribution centers.

Among those assets: the recipes for its well-known brands, especially the spongy Twinkie, which holds a special place in America's culinary history. Over the years, it has been vilified by nutritionists, but it remains widely loved by snackers.

It even entered into U.S. legal history as the so-called "Twinkie defense," used by lawyers for former San Francisco city supervisor Dan White in his trial for the 1978 murder of Mayor George Moscone and city supervisor Harvey Milk. The legal team successfully argued that White's consumption of mass amounts of junk food, including Twinkies, was a symptom of the depression that led to his shooting of Moscone and Milk. White was found guilty of manslaughter, a lesser charge.

CEO and chairman Gregory F. Rayburn told CNBC that he was hopeful the company could sell its brands.

He told TODAY that the move was not a negotiating ploy. "It's over. This is it," he said.

The company said it would continue to deliver products and its stores would remain open for several days to sell already-baked products.

"The Board of Directors authorized the wind down of Hostess Brands to preserve and maximize the value of the estate after one of the company's largest unions, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), initiated a nationwide strike that crippled the company's ability to produce and deliver products at multiple facilities," Hostess said in the statement.

On Nov. 12, Hostess permanently closed three plants because of the strike. Two days later, the company announced that it would be forced to liquidate if enough workers did not return to restore normal operations by 5 p.m. ET Thursday.

"We deeply regret the necessity of today's decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike," said Rayburn.

The BCTGM was not immediately available to comment. But Reuters reported that Union President Frank Hurt blamed the company, saying it was kowtowing to Wall Street investors who have wanted to break up Hostess.

Workers were still staffing picket lines early Friday.

A quick search of eBay showed people offering boxes of Twinkies for a range of prices -- from $5.00 a box to as much as $500.


A look at the history of St. Vincent’s La Soufrière volcano

Kristin Deane And Dánica Coto , Associated Press

The eastern Caribbean is on high alert as La Soufrière volcano on the island of St. Vincent continues to erupt, leaving many homeless and those on the surrounding islands worried about ash and air quality.

What is being described as an enormous amount of ash and hot gas is spewing from the volcano. Monday morning was the biggest eruption yet since volcanic activity began late last week, with experts calling it a “huge explosion.”

The first eruption was Friday, sending a huge plume of ash 6 miles into the sky. Evacuations on the island had just started the day before when the first eruption happened.

The volcano hadn’t erupted since 1979, but in late December 2020, La Soufrière started rumbling again. Scientists observed the dome and decided it was an early indication of an impending eruption.

The island has been on alert ever since.

Now, pyroclastic flows -- which are fast-moving volcanic ash, lava droplets and hot gas -- have destroyed homes and farms and threatened the island’s food and water supplies.

Ash from the ongoing explosions has fallen on Barbados and other nearby islands.

Scientists believe this is the first of many explosions to come.

Volcanic eruptions can last weeks or even months, and La Soufrière has a history of deadly eruptions. Records show that in 1902, the volcano erupted for nearly eight months.

Richard Robertson, with the University of the West Indies’ Seismic Research Center, said the latest explosion is equivalent to the one that occurred in 1902 and killed some 1,600.

Evacuations on the island are still ongoing and it is unknown at this time how many stayed behind. The island is watching for its next change of rain -- which is a big concern because, when water mixes with the ash, it forms a concrete of sorts.

The eastern Caribbean has 19 live volcanoes, 17 of those located on 11 islands. The remaining two are located underwater near Grenada, including one called Kick ‘Em Jenny that has been active in recent years. The most active volcano of all is Soufrière Hills in Montserrat, which has erupted continuously since 1995, destroying the capital of Plymouth and killing at least 19 people in 1997.

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  • 2 cups corn flour
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 3/4 lb grated pumpkin
  • 1/2 lb grated sweet potato
  • 6 oz melted butter or margarine
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 3/4 lb brown sugar
  • 4 ozs. raisins
  • 1 tsp spice
  • 1 tsp almond essence
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Fresh Banana leaves

Mix the coconut, pumpkin, sweet potato, sugar, spices, raisins, flour, corn flour, and salt together in a large bowl.

Add the beaten egg, melted butter/margarine, and milk. Mix thoroughly by hand to combine. You should have a thick mixture that drops slowly from a spoon. Add more flour if the mixture is not thick enough add a bit more milk if it is too thick.

Fresh green Banana leaves are traditionally used to wrap the conkie mixture. If you have these, strip leaves from stalk with a sharp knife then briefly singe them over an open flame to make them more pliable. Cut the leaves into individual 8" squares.

Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of the mixture into the centre of the banana leaf. Fold the leaf around the mixture, taking care not to rip the leaf.

Steam the conkies on a rack over boiling water in a large saucepan for 1 hour or until they are firm.


The Gooey Story of S’mores

Though nobody quite agrees on where s’mores came from (or who gave them their silly name), it’s clear to me that the things could only have been invented by a kid. Nobody over ten years-old would ever think of squishing together a chocolate bar, a toasted marshmallow, and a pair of graham crackers, and calling it food.

That said, the s’more’s long yet vague history, dates back at least to 1927 when a recipe for the more formally designated “some mores” appeared in Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts, a helpful tome which also includes instructions for building 12 different kinds of campfires. Other sources attribute the original recipe to the Campfire Girls and there’s also an argument that the gooey treat has its origins in the Victorian era, when popular picks for desserts were “sandwich cookies” and sponge cakes, variously filled with jam, cream, or lemon curd.

Alternatively, if the jump from elegant tea cake to sticky campfire snack seems a little much, other inspirational possibilities include the Mallomar—a graham cracker cookie topped with a blob of marshmallow and coated with chocolate, manufactured by Nabisco and first sold in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1913 or the MoonPie—a pair of graham cracker cookies with a marshmallow filling, dipped in chocolate – that first went on the market in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1917.

Well, maybe. But my bet is still on a bunch of messily-experimental little girls.

By the time the Scouts were first scarfing down their s’mores, the marshmallow was no longer the healthful all-natural preparation it had been in ancient times. According to Tim Richardson’s Sweets: A History of Candy, the original marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) was a swamp plant somewhat resembling a hollyhock, native to Europe and West Asia. Its roots produce a sticky white sap used medicinally for centuries as a sore-throat cure. In the Middle Ages, chunks of the marsh mallow root were candied to make “suckets,” the medieval version of cough drops.

In the mid-1800s, the culinarily adept French came up with the idea of turning marsh mallow sap into something that was simply good to eat, whipping it into a meringue-like froth with egg whites and sugar and pouring it into molds to form fat, squashy confections that Richardson describes as “halfway between air and toffee.” Producing these primal marshmallows was time-consuming and labor-intensive. They were accordingly expensive and only the upper classes got them.

By the late 1800s, however, the mallow plant extract was replaced by the more readily available gelatin, which is what keeps modern marshmallows so light and fluffy. The average marshmallow is over half just plain air. (Don’t believe it? Check out this experiment.) The gelatin – a breakdown product of collagen—provides the skeleton that holds the air bubbles securely in place. Cheap gelatin combined with faster production processes meant that marshmallows were now affordable, and—no longer an elite treat—they were soon increasingly ubiquitous.

By the 1890s, according to period newspaper reports, marshmallow roasts were the latest in summer fads. “The simplicity of this form of amusement is particularly charming,” reads a description of 1892. “One buys two or three pounds of marshmallows, invites half a dozen friends, and that is all the preparation required.” The proper means of consuming marshmallows, the author adds, is to nibble them directly off the end of the stick—or off the end of your neighbor’s stick, which may be why the author also touts the marshmallow roast as “an excellent medium for flirtation.”

The roasted marshmallow—and by extrapolation, the s’more—traditionally requires a campfire. (Unless, like New Zealand climber Simon Turner, you’re brave enough to roast your marshmallows over an active volcano.) Most of us, after a couple of incendiary experiments, come to terms with the best way to brown a marshmallow, though for those who don’t, the National Marshmallow Roasters Institute (which has branches in Sacramento, Columbus, and Paris) provides helpful tips.

Once you’ve mastered the marshmallow, the s’more is simply a matter of assembly. The original 1827 recipe (for 8) calls for eight sticks, 16 graham crackers, 8 bars of plain chocolate (each broken in half), and 16 marshmallows.

“Toast two marshmallows over the coals to a crisp gooey state and then put them inside a graham cracker and chocolate bar sandwich. The heat of the marshmallow between the halves of chocolate bar will melt the chocolate a bit.”

Nowadays alternative fillings for s’mores include everything from raspberry jam to peanut butter, hazelnut butter, Nutella, caramel, and lemon curd substitutes for graham crackers include chocolate chip cookies and wheat crackers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, cautioning that the traditional s’more is hardly a healthy snack, proposes substituting low-fat vanilla yogurt and strawberries for the chocolate and marshmallow. The graham crackers, says the government, are still OK.

Or s’mores eaters can simply exercise restraint.

“Though it tastes like ‘some more,’” the 1827 directions conclude dampingly, “one is really enough.”