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Last Shipment of Twinkies Arrives in Chicago

Last Shipment of Twinkies Arrives in Chicago

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Jewel-Osco claims they received the last Hostess shipment ever this morning

Oh, great; while everyone is going on about how the Twinkie is never going to die because, you know, the recipe is probably going to be bought by some other company to make millions once the world ends next week (that company better GET ON IT), Jewel Osco in Chicago has announced that they've received their final Hostess shipment. That's 20,000 boxes of Twinkies around Chicago, plus 5,000 boxes of Ding Dongs, Zingers, and Orange Cupcakes.

Jewel, the Chicago grocery chain, says this is the last Hostess shipment ever. Which means, obviously, that people should be charging the stores to stockpile them (read: they're probably raiding the stores right now).

The Chicago Tribune reports that 10 customers were waiting in line at 7 a.m. to grab all the Twinkies at one Jewel store (they sold out of Twinkies afterward). A bunch of other newspapers are calling it "Twinkie madness," probably envisioning folks loading cars with the cream-filled pastry. But honestly guys? They're not that great. Please don't freak out in the comments below.

Check out which stores do and don't have the Twinkies shipments in Chicago here; they'll be sold at regular price without any specials or price hikes, which is pretty solid considering there is definitely a market shortage of Twinkies right now.

Transplants Plummet At Start of Pandemic, And Organs Go Missing More Often Than They Should — But Innovators Are Coming Up With Solutions

CHICAGO (CBS) — When our world came to a standstill last year, so did organ donations.

People were staying home and out of harm’s way, but as the country reopened, tragedy that struck for one family would be a prayer answered for another.

On Thursday night, CBS 2’s Lauren Victory took us inside 2020’s record-breaking year of transplants and discovered a hole in the system that’s under repair.

When COVID-19 arrived in the United States, landing good news was hard. That was especially the case for the sick &ndash people like Tashiana Smith.

“All I could do was cry,&rdquo Smith said. &ldquoMy first, I want to say, my first week of coming, I cried because I was just in shock. Like how did I get here?&rdquo

Smith has been fighting kidney failure for nearly two and a half years. She needs both a kidney and a pancreas, and she has been having to go in for dialysis for four hours each round.

&ldquoI was here every Monday, Wednesday, Friday,&rdquo Smith said.

She said coming in for dialysis three times a week took a lot away from her.

&ldquoI had to stop working. I had to stop going to school,&rdquo Smith said. &ldquoSome days I would be extremely tired, extremely drained.&rdquo

Her dread of dialysis suddenly lifted when she was placed on the transplant list for a new kidney and pancreas in February 2020.

&ldquoThat&rsquos when COVID like really hit,&rdquo Smith said. &ldquoI&rsquom like, &rsquoWow. So how long are they going to push my transplant back?&rsquo You know? Everything just stopped.&rdquo

One of the everythings was GrandView Aviation, which had just expanded to Chicago Executive Airport. No one wanted to take flight in a beautiful luxury jet with COVID-19 in the air.

But to Chief Operating Officer Jessie Naor&rsquos surprise, a certain type of call still came in.

&ldquoWhen the pandemic struck, we were all really worried,&rdquo Naor said. &ldquoIs anything going to happen? Are these organs just not going to be donated?&rdquo

Pilot Ricardo Gobbo found himself boarding not the rich and famous, but medical teams.

(Credit: GrandView Aviation)

&ldquoTwo doctors and two nurses, and we fit the box here,&rdquo he said, pointing to first seat in the plane.

(Credit: GrandView Aviation)

Each box holds someone&rsquos future heart or liver &ndash their second shot at life.

&ldquoWe&rsquore actually flying a lot more lungs during coronavirus,&rdquo Naor said.

(Credit: GrandView Aviation)

GrandView Aviation started out as a medical flight company. But in 2020, they scheduled more organ transport trips than ever before.

On average, crews completed medical missions nearly every day.

&ldquoPresent the flight plan and then we can take off and take the organ for a happy family,&rdquo said Gobbo, explaining his role from the cockpit.

By charter or commercial flight, courier and more, over 36,000 organs from deceased donors whizzed across our country last year during the pandemic. That&rsquos a record high.

Now imagine the stress when this precious cargo goes missing or gets delayed.

You see, in a time when we can track our online orders, follow our food deliveries, and watch for our rideshares in real time, knowing the exact location of an organ that&rsquos en route to a sick patient wasn&rsquot possible – until now.

&ldquoThere&rsquos all these different ways that organs move and each one has its own &ndash its own risks,&rdquo said Casey Humphries, program manager at UNOS Labs.

UNOS Labs is the research arm of the United Network for Organ Sharing. Humphries has been working on a solution for the past year &ndash testing out GPS tracking devices.

(Credit: Center for Organ Recovery and Education, Pittsburgh, PA)

&ldquoWe needed something that was efficient that was lightweight,&rdquo Humphries said.

UNOS reported &ldquo28 shipment failures&rdquo and &ldquo109 near misses&rdquo to the federal government in 2015. That is only about 5 percent of total transports, but many of the life-saving organs affected had to be thrown out.

Problems: included &ldquoairline computer system issues&rdquo and &ldquocourier delay due to traffic.&rdquo

&ldquoEven minor things like it being dropped off at the wrong desk at the hospital where it needs to be just one building over,&rdquo Humphries said.

As to the effects he has heard about anecdotally about organs being in the wrong place, Humphries said, &ldquoIt&rsquos just a lot of back and forth and inefficiency, honestly.&rdquo

There is also a lot of anxiety &ndash with doctors and patients waiting on pins and needles for the sometimes life-or-death deliveries.

But now, transplant teams can follow along on a map.

&ldquoNo matter how many times it switches a flight, no matter how many hands are responsible for getting that organ there, we know it gets there,&rdquo Humphries said.

(Credit: Center for Organ Recovery and Education, Pittsburgh, PA)

That confidence in the transport could lead to hospitals accepting organs from farther away &ndash transplants possibly sooner for those agonizing over the wait, like Brittani Bury. She has been stuck in a Northwestern Memorial hospital room for weeks, fingers crossed for a double lung and heart delivery.

CBS 2 told her about the UNOS tracking project.

&ldquoIt&rsquos like they care about it, I guess, and that matters to us,&rdquo Bury said.

While Bury&rsquos wait continues, the other kind of tick-tock &ndash actually TikTok in this case &ndash consumes Smith. She likes to dance with her nephew with newfound energy after her transplant came through in July 2020.

Smith is happier and more much energetic after her transplant came through in July 2020.

&ldquoI started crying,&rdquo she said. &ldquoI&rsquove waited so long for this, you know?&rdquo

Smith said he has no idea where your organs came from. What matters to her is nothing went wrong.

Her pancreas and kidney&rsquos journey from donor to hospital didn&rsquot land on the list of bad statistics.

With transportation solutions in further testing, 2021 transplants are in route to break the good kind of record again.

Meanwhile, Bury has set up a GoFundMe to help with her post-transplant expenses.

Your package will arrive in 2-3 business days from the day we receive your order. You will be able to select a delivery date on a special calendar upon checkout. Because adverse conditions can sometimes affect shipments, your order may be shipped to arrive earlier than the requested delivery date. An additional $19.99 will be charged for this service. Orders placed after 4 p.m. CST on Tuesday will arrive the following Wednesday.

Order received by 4:00 p.m. (Central Time) weekdays will ship the next day via Overnight and arrive by the following business afternoon. Overnight Delivery is available Monday through Thursday for delivery Tuesday through Friday. You will be able to select a delivery date on a special calendar upon checkout. Because adverse conditions can sometimes affect shipments, your order may be shipped to arrive earlier than the requested delivery date. UPS does not offer comprehensive weekend delivery for this service. Please call 888-970-1118 if you would like Saturday delivery.

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About the Author

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Eighty-Five Years  of a Sweet Sensation 

What makes Twinkies so special? Everyone has an answer. 
If there were a lifetime achievement award for snack cakes, Twinkies would certainly set the gold standard&mdashnow more than ever. 

Perhaps it&rsquos the nostalgia. From comic strips to the silver screen, state fairs to science projects, legal legends to urban legends, artifacts to art exhibits, Howdy Doody to Archie Bunker&mdashTwinkies have been baked into our national pop culture for generations. Who would have thought a simple confection of sponge cake and cream filling could become a national icon?

Of course, one wonders if a few persistent tall tales have had a little something to do with the timeless mystique. For the record, Twinkies don&rsquot last forever. Nor are they made with a supersecret chemical compound that makes them indestructible. Contrary to what Homer may have been told in a memorable episode of The Simpsons, you can harm a Twinkie.

Maybe it&rsquos old-fashioned national pride. As a vintage television spot declared, &ldquoTwinkies are American through and through.&rdquo President Clinton certainly must have thought so when he considered the Twinkie for the National Millennium Time Capsule as an &ldquoobject of enduring American symbolism.&rdquo 

But why overthink it? After all, we&rsquore talking about Twinkies here. Have you tasted one lately? They&rsquore incredibly good. If it&rsquos been a while, your first bite undoubtedly will be even sweeter than you remembered. Diet mavens may balk, but at 135 calories per Twinkie, you could do a lot worse these days.

Whatever the root of their appeal, Twinkies sparkle with an undeniable magic&mdasha star that seems to shine brighter with age. This is quite astonishing considering the snack cake&rsquos inventor was just looking for a way to put idle shortcake pans to use when strawberries were out of season.

The remarkably colorful history of Twinkies dates back to early 1930. Hoovervilles were sprouting from state to state, the Chrysler Building neared completion in New York, and bakery manager James A. Dewar was embarking on the &ldquobest darn-tootin&rsquo idea&rdquo he ever had. 

Ten years after starting his career driving a horse-drawn pound cake wagon for the Continental Baking Company outside Chicago, Dewar was at the frontier of almost unimaginable fame. Continental was looking for a new, inexpensive product that would appeal to frugal consumers in the tight economy. Why not use the company&rsquos stockpile of shortcake pans to create a treat that could be sold year-round? Dewar thought.

Blending a dry mix of necessity, practicality, and ingenuity, he whipped up the celebrated recipe by injecting smooth and creamy banana filling into the oblong golden finger cakes. Unlike strawberries, which were only in season for six weeks during the summer, bananas were readily available year-round.

As for the name, a St. Louis billboard advertising &ldquoTwinkle Toe Shoes&rdquo provided all the inspiration Dewar needed. He was quoted as saying he &ldquoshortened it to make it a little zippier for the kids.&rdquo
Dewar&rsquos new two-for-a-nickel treat was an instant hit.

&ldquoTo think [Continental] didn&rsquot know if people would like them,&rdquo recalled Margaret Branco, one of the company&rsquos original &ldquoTwinkie stuffers,&rdquo in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. &ldquoWe could hardly keep up with the demand. You&rsquod think people had nothing to do but eat Twinkies. They sold like hotcakes.&rdquo

In the early days, every Twinkie had to be hand-filled using a specially created machine operated with a foot pedal. &ldquoYou had to pump the pedal just right or too much filling would shoot out,&rdquo Branco explained. &ldquoIf I oversquirted, the Twinkie would explode. Of course, that wasn&rsquot so bad. I got to eat the crippled ones. I never lost my appetite for them. Not only that, I lost weight.

I was a butterball when I started. I got thinner on Twinkies.&rdquo
As Twinkies marched to snack cake superstardom, Dewar, like a proud parent, remained their number one fan, eating at least three a day for more than fifty years. (He admitted to having &ldquosort of a sweet tooth.&rdquo)

Dewar&rsquos grandchildren, in an interview with the Rochester (NY) Democrat & Chronicle, recalled how &ldquoGrandpa Twinkie&rdquo never tired of telling the Twinkie story and would regularly visit grocery stores to make sure the little cakes were always fresh. He kept his own stash in the fridge and freezer.
&ldquoSome people say Twinkies are the quintessential junk food, but I believe in the things,&rdquo Dewar once told United Press International. &ldquoI fed them to my four kids and they feed them to my fifteen grandchildren. Twinkies never hurt them.&rdquo

Though Twinkies became one of the most popular products in American history, Dewar reportedly never received any special compensation for his illustrious invention. He retired from Continental in 1972, having become a vice president. But no promotion could ever have topped his title as &ldquoMr. Twinkie.&rdquo

After Dewar&rsquos death in 1985 at age eighty-eight, a Shelbyville, Indiana, man emerged to stake claim to top Twinkie-eating honors. Lewis Browning, a retired milk truck driver who lived well into his nineties, ate at least one Twinkie a day, a custom he began in 1941. That&rsquos right, more than twenty thousand Twinkies.

The baton awaits the next would-be Twinkie king, though Browning left considerable shoes to fill. 
Not everyone has been so obliging when it comes to Twinkies. Take Twinkiegate: In the 1980s, a grand jury indicted a Minneapolis city council candidate for serving coffee, Kool-Aid, Twinkies, and other sweets to two senior citizen groups. The case led to the passage of the Minnesota Campaign Act, widely known as the Twinkie Law. The seventy-one-year-old candidate, George Belair, lost the election, but the charges against him were eventually dropped.

&ldquoHow can anyone bribe someone with Twinkies?&rdquo he asked in a Los Angeles Times article.
Honorable intentions aside, Belair may have seriously underestimated what people would do for a Twinkie&mdashor the raw emotions the little snack cake could evoke.

Just ask Rocky Mountain News columnist Mark Wolf. When Hostess experimented with fruit and creme Twinkies several years ago, Wolf fired off an irate headline: &ldquoHey Hostess, here&rsquos a tip: Don&rsquot mess with my Twinkies.&rdquo

&ldquoTo alter a Twinkie is to demean a national resource,&rdquo the self-described Twinkie-holic wrote. &ldquoHow could anyone tinker with perfection?&rdquo

&ldquoDespite occasional attacks by misguided nutritionists and dentists, the original Twinkie reigns as the American snack food and arguably the greatest product of the Industrial Revolution.&rdquo
To be fair, Hostess thought consumers might appreciate a throwback to the shortcake&rsquos roots, but ultimately decided to abandon the idea. No doubt to the comfort of legions of Twinkie purists, the fruit and creme effort was a rare occasion in Twinkie history when the classic cake was, well, &ldquomessed with.&rdquo

With the exception of a change to vanilla filling during World War II, driven by a banana shortage, and the introduction of a &ldquolight&rdquo variety in 1990, Twinkies have remained remarkably close to the original recipe. And that&rsquos just the way people like it&mdashto the tune of five hundred million Twinkies each year.

So let us raise a toast to an American original&mdashthe magical, mystifying, magnificent Twinkie.
The journey&rsquos been quite a treat. Let the future be even sweeter.

Cajun Boudin – What, Where, How

Cajun boudin is one of my all time favorite comfort foods. For those not in the know, Cajun boudin is a type of sausage traditionally made from a mixture of pork, rice and seasonings. Its origin and history date back two centuries or more to the Acadians who migrated to Louisiana from France and, later, from Nova Scotia. Though related, Cajun boudin differs greatly from the French boudin blanc and boudin noir.

Today, other non-traditional ingredients such as crawfish, shrimp, chicken and even alligator are sometimes used as a basis in Cajun boudin. Proportions vary significantly as do taste, texture and degree of spiciness. Generally, there are two types of traditional Cajun boudin – white and red (or blood). The red uses essentially the same basic recipe as the white, but incorporates fresh pork blood into the mix. The red version was, in fact, the original Cajun boudin, most prevalent long ago when families traditionally raised and butchered their own hogs.

Cajun boudin is not readily found outside of Louisiana, its home state. Red boudin is all but non-existent, save for a very few sources. I have enjoyed great success and satisfaction over the past 10+ years ordering and receiving boudin from various sources in Louisiana. At first, it was purely by hunt and peck. During the last 5 years or so, my efforts have been greatly aided by the advent of the following websites:

I prefer obtaining my boudin directly from the source, not through intermediaries such as Cajun Grocer, Cajun Supermarket or Louisiana Living. I want it as fresh made as possible. Very few Cajun boudin makers ship their product. Two sources that make a very fine fresh product and who will ship it directly to you at a very reasonable cost are Bourque’s in Port Barre and Poche’s in Breaux Bridge:

If you want to try a specific maker’s boudin or branch out and try a variety of boudin, the UPS Store in Lafayette, Louisiana at (337) 232-2442, will go to the source(s) and procure your boudin for you. They will competently pack it in dry ice inside a nice new, reusable Styrofoam container and ship it to you the very same day for overnight or 2nd day delivery. I have used their services many times with complete satisfaction – somewhat expensive, but worth every penny to me.

The UPS Store performs this service regularly for its customers. Being in Lafayette, often touted as the Cajun boudin capital of the world, they are close to quite a few makers of excellent boudin including Billeaud’s, Chop’s, JD’s, Johnson’s, NuNu’s and Tiny Prudhomme’s among others (see for source info). I have typically had The UPS Store procure two or three different boudins for each shipment. I buy about 40 pounds per year in a single shipment for about $300, usually sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I usually get a few pounds of hog’s head cheese as well (another whole delicious topic).

The very best commercial boudin I have had (both red and white) is made by the Babineaux brothers, Larry and Rodney at:

Babineaux’s Slaughter House & Meat Market
1019 Babineaux Road
Breaux Bridge, LA 70517
(337) 332-1961 (ask for Larry)

Babineaux’s boudin is made from fresh-slaughtered hogs. The batches that I have bought came from a single hog. Less than a week transpired between the time the hog was slaughtered and the day the boudin arrived at my doorstep. The taste of their boudin is different than that made from processed pork and will vary some depending upon the age, sex and diet of the donor hog. Moreover, Babineaux’s boudin recipe follows age-old traditions and uses the various parts of the hog, including the head (temple, jowl), belly and liver, not just the butt or shoulder as many other current day makers’ recipes do. This results in a very complex, deep, richly flavored umami unfamiliar to many people. Theirs is real, old school boudin as it was meant to be.

After reading and listening to his oral history on The Southern Boudin Trail and seeing his product pictured on The Boudin Link, John Saucier’s boudin remains on my wish list to try. Unfortunately, even The UPS Store doesn’t want to venture that far into the backcountry to procure it for me. Damn! That stuff must really be good. Well, I just may have to trek down there one day and get it myself.

Saucier’s Sausage Kitchen
2064 Saucier Rd.
Mamou, LA 70554
(337) 457-2699

Here’s a link to an article showcasing boudin by both Mr. Saucier and the Babineaux brothers:

A final word. All of the fresh Louisiana boudin that I have purchased was already fully cooked, vacuum-sealed and frozen before shipment. It arrived frozen after overnight delivery or mostly frozen after 2nd day delivery. I have kept both red and white boudin in my freezer for a year or more with little, if any, notable deterioration in quality.

Please share any experiences or insights you may have regarding Cajun boudin, a most unique and delicious comfort food. I just finished a link of Bourque’s for breakfast. Yum!

Louis Armstrong's 2d Wife, Lil Hardin, Dies at a Tribute

CHICAGO, Aug. 27 (UPI)— Lil Hardin, the second wife of the late Louis Armstrong, died of a heart attack today while playing at a concert in the Civic Center Plaza in his mem ory.

Mrs. Armstrong, who was 73 years old, was an accomplished jazz pianist. She was playing “The St. Louis Blues” when she was stricken. Mr. Arm strong died in New York at the age of 71 on July 6.

Spurred Trumpeter's Career

Lil Hardin, who was married to Mr. Armstrong from 1924 to 1938, had a profound effect on his career.

At the time of their marriage, she was already a recognized star as a jazz pianist playing in Chicago in King Oliver's Cre ole Jazz Band. Mr. Armstrong had arrived in Chicago from New Orleans in 1922 at the age of 22.

Recalling that she had been told that “little Louis” was about to join the band, Mrs. Armstrong exclaimed:

“Little Louis! He weighed 226 pounds. He was wearing a sec ond‐hand suit that didn't fit, he had a hat that was too small sitting on top of his head and I didn't like his hairdo—he had bangs sticking straight out, which was the style in New Orleans.”

King Oliver, considered then the greatest jazz cornetist of his day, told her that young Louis was so good that he intended to keep him in the band, play ing second cornet, so that Oli ver could remain King Oliver. Lil Hardin began listening, Daily contact grew into friend ship, and then to marriage.

Mrs. Armstrong, who always preferred to be called Miss Lil, recalled that her family thought little of the prospective match.

She Advised a Move

She thereupon told her fi ancé that it was not her plan to remain married to a second cornet. At her urging, Mr. Arm strong left the. Oliver band.

He played for a year with Fletcher Henderson's band in New York. However, when Miss Lil learned that he was not getting a billing she made deal with the Dreamland Cafe in Chicago to bring in a small group. Mr. Armstrong would be billed, despite his embarrass ment, as “The World's Great est Trumpet Player.”

And he would be paid $20 a week more than the $55 he had been getting from Fletcher Henderson.

As his fame grew, the couple drifted apart and eventually were divorced. Mr. Armstrong remarried, but Miss Lii did not. She stayed in Chicago, playing jazz piano in various clubs, with an occasional appearance in the East. She was at the Top of the Gate on Bleecker Street in 1968 and at Jimmy Ryan's, with Cecil Scott's band, in 1957. She also appeared with jazz groups in Auburn, Mass., and in Meriden, Conn.

On her 1968 appearance at the Top of the Gate, with Franz Jackson's Chicagoans, John S. Wilson, jazz critic of The New York Times, described Mrs. Armstrong as “a hearty woman with a bubbling per sonality who plays piano and sings with A zest and assur ance that completely belie her age.”

“She has described herself,” Mr. Wilson wrote, “as a ‘heavy’ pianist, originally influenced by Jelly Roll Morton. On Sun day she was ‘heavy’ in the sense of being strong and forth right, but the prime influence one heard was not Mr. Morton, but Earl Hines, both in the use of his treble trills and in a variation of Mr. Hines's ‘Boogie Woogie on the St. Louis Blues.’”

He added that she had “other things that were purely Miss Lil — a romping pianistic spirit and a vocal style that ranged from literal lyrics to burbling, happy mutters.”

Miss Lil was not bitter over the breakup of her marriage. When Mr. Armstrong died, she and other friends of the great trumpet player joined in plans for a concert in his memory. She died while playing in his honor.

15 Foods Invented in Chicago Besides Deep Dish Pizza

Tourists may flock to Chicago to try authentic, Bisquick-esque Chicago deep dish pizza, which Pizzeria Uno owner Ike Sewell invented in 1943, but there are a score of other foods that originated in Chicago that have either spread nationwide or are still only available in the Windy City. Here are Chicago’s illustrious and more obscure specialties.


Just as ubiquitous as deep dish pizza and hot dogs, the Italian Beef sandwich has made its way around the world. Italian immigrants created the delicacy in the 1920s or 1930s, during the Depression. Al Ferreri and family members opened Al’s Beef in 1938, but it’s unclear if he was the inventor of the sandwich. It evolved from the means of making unflavorful meat taste better and last longer, so people roasted it, used the sandwich’s bread to soak up the juices, and then added giardiniera on top to add some heat.

Chicago’s Al’s Italian Beef has an option to serve the sandwich wet, which means more gravy is added. Almost all 50 states have at least one Italian Beef shop, and Chicagoland has over 300 of them. Al’s recently opened a store in Dallas that proved to be so well-liked, it had to temporarily close to restock. And if you ever want to make Italian Beef at home, Portillo’s sells a handy DIY kit.


James Dewar, who was a baker for Continental Baking Company in Chicago suburb Schiller Park, invented the spongy yellow cake snack in 1930. He came across a billboard for Twinkle Toe Shoes, and the name stuck. Dewar first made the Twinkies stuffed with banana crème but then switched to the traditional vanilla crème style. By 1980, Twinkies sold at the rate of about 1 billion a year, but in 2012 Twinkies almost vanished from the face of the earth when Hostess Brands filed for bankruptcy. Two private equity firms joined forces and purchased Hostess and saved the food (and deep fried Twinkies) from eminent extinction. Twinkies made a comeback in July 2013, this time being manufactured out of only four plants in the U.S. Unfortunately, the Schiller Park plant closed last year, so it’s best to ration those treats just in case.


Gum has been around for thousands of years, but the mass-produced, multi-flavored varieties we know today can be traced to William Wrigley Jr. A native of Philadelphia, Wrigley moved to Chicago in the 1890s and established the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company in 1891, but back then he was a soap and baking powder salesman. He threw in a couple of free packs of chewing gum with each baking powder sale, and it was so popular that he decided to focus on gum.

In 1893 he invented Wrigley’s Spearmint and Juicy Fruit gums, added Doublemint in 1914, and the company introduced Extra sugar-free gum in 1984. Wrigley’s also known for his advertising acumen, when in 1915 he sent free sticks of gum to everyone in the phone book. Wrigley’s indelible mark can be seen all over Chicago: The Wrigley Building on Michigan Avenue’s named after him, and so is Wrigley Field, home to the Cubs.


Next to the deep dish pizza, Chicago’s best known for the omnipresent Chicago-style hot dog (all-beef hot dog in a steamed poppy-seed bun and “dragged through the garden”: chopped onions, neon green relish, tomato wedges, a dill pickle spear, sport peppers, celery salt, mustard, and no ketchup) and subsets such as the char dog and Polish dog. For a while, it was the only game in town, but soon other all-beef suppliers—most notably Red Hots—started encroaching on their turf. While different joints around the city have slight variations for their hot dogs, there remains a constant: These types of frankfurters.

During the World’s Fair, Emil Reichel and Sam Ladany emigrated from Vienna, Austria, to Chicago and sold their beef hot dogs at the fair. A year later, in 1894, they opened their first storefront. The Great Depression helped the Vienna Beef encased meats become a staple throughout hot dog stands in Chicago, and in 1964 the dogs infiltrated markets in California. Vienna Beef hot dogs can be found everywhere from Johnny Rockets to mom-and-pop hot dog stands.


One of the foods introduced during the 1893 World’s Fair eventually became the ballpark snack Cracker Jack. German immigrant Frederick William Rueckheim and his brother debuted their candied popcorn mixed with peanuts at the exposition, and three years later the first batches of molasses-covered popcorn were sold to the public. In 1908, musicians Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer furthered the food’s popularity when they wrote about buying Cracker Jack in their heralded ballpark anthem “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” In 1912, the company started selling the product with small prizes inside the boxes. Today, Frito Lay owns the brand and concocts flavors like butter toffee, kettle corn, and caramel coated popcorn—which are all still sold with prizes inside.


You have Chicago to thank for brownies, more specifically, Bertha Palmer. Her millionaire husband, Potter Palmer, owned the Palmer House hotel (it’s still open today), and she wanted to bake something for the World’s Fair that wasn’t a cake but had the texture of one and was also small enough to place inside a boxed lunch. Palmer’s recipe consisted of semi-sweet chocolate, crushed walnuts, and it was topped with an apricot glaze made from preserves. The first instance of the word “brownie” appeared in a 1898 Sears Roebuck catalog, and eventually the rest of the world fell in love with the dessert.


Frozen pound cakes were the invention of Downers Grove, Illinois' Charles Lubin, who founded Sara Lee in the 1950s and named it after his daughter. Lubin started out as owner of a chain of bakeries called Community Bake Shops, but he wanted to figure out a way to distribute the baked goods outside of Chicago without the food spoiling. He came up with the concept of freezing the product in a foil baking pan. He then was able to distribute the goods within a 300-mile radius of Chicago and eventually into 48 states. In 1976, Sara Lee had the honor of baking the nation’s bicentennial birthday cake , which was so huge (four stories), it filled up Freedom Hall.


The jibarito is a modern entry on this list, as it was invented in the 1990s. It’s unclear if the sandwich was in fact invented in Puerto Rico or Chicago, but Chicagoan Juan C. “Pete” Figueroa definitely made it his own in the city. Figueroa read about the “sandwich de platano” in a Puerto Rican newspaper and decided to cook his own version. The jibarito (hee-bah-ree-to) uses crispy green plantains as bread, and meats (pork, steak, or chicken), garlic mayo, cheese, lettuce, and tomato go between the plantains. Figueroa’s Humboldt Park eatery Borinquen Restaurant was the first to serve the sandwich in the city, but soon other Puerto Rican restaurants and Cuban restaurants started serving it.


It sounds so effortless: bell peppers and scrambled eggs on a sandwich, but it’s more complex than that. The peppernegg sandwich manifested during Lent. Strips of green and/or red peppers sautéed with or without onions, whipped eggs, and sometimes cheese go between two slices of bread. Establishments in Chicago sell iterations of the sandwich, but you can easily make it at home.


What’s a pizza puff? Well, it’s a smaller, folded version of a pizza wrapped in a soft flour tortilla that’s deep fried—similar to a Hot Pocket. They’re indigenous to Chicago’s fast food restaurants, especially hot dog stands and pizza joints. Chicago-based Iltaco Foods exclusively manufactures them and distributes them to retail outlets and restaurants. They sell varieties like beef sausage and mozzarella cheese, a gyro puff made with gyro meat, cheese, peppers, and yogurt sauce, and a breakfast puff made with ham and cheddar cheese.


The Greeks were onto something when they came up with fried cheese, but it was Chris Liakouras of Chicago’s Greektown’s The Parthenon who perfected it. High melting point cheeses like halloumi, kasseri, and kefalotyri are fried in a two-handled frying pan that’s called a “saganaki.” In 1968, Liakouras got the idea to fry the cheese tableside, pour brandy over it to flambée it, yell “Opa!”, and then finish it with a squirt of lemon juice. The cheese gets crispy on the outside but stays firm and only melts slightly on the inside. Throughout Greektown’s restaurants, types of saganaki vary: The Parthenon uses kasseri cheese, and Roditys has the option to add shrimp.


This dish is rarely seen outside Chicago restaurants, but recipes for it can be found all over the Internet. According to “The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink,” an Italian cook who was inspired by the Mt. Vesuvius volcano (or Vesuvio in Italian) created the dish in Chicago after WWII. But Nick Giannotti claims his father, Vic, invented it in the 1960s. Chicken Vesuvio entails sautéing chicken-on-the-bone in a skillet with herbs, garlic, and white wine. It’s served with potatoes and peas to add some color. Critics named Italian steakhouse Harry Carey’s restaurant in Chicago as having the best Vesuvio in the city. Theirs is made with a half chicken or boneless breast, quartered potatoes, and sweet peas.


If you eat gyros, you are most likely eating one made from Glendale Heights, Illinois, company Kronos Gyro. (Look for the pretty girl poster.) Chris Tomaras founded the Greek company in 1975 where he developed what’s called a GyroKone: sliced beef, lamb, or chicken meat wrapped around a cone and ready to cook. This led to his gyro sandwich, which is meat roasted on a vertical spit and placed inside a warm pita bread topped with veggies and tzatziki sauce. Gyros were invented in Greece, but Tomaras claims he introduced gyros to Chicagoans, although others take credit for the innovation. Today, Kronos is the world’s largest manufacturer of gyros.


At the 1893 World's Fair, two breakfast staples arrived on Lake Michigan's shores, where they were introduced to the masses: Cream of Wheat and Shredded Wheat. The former was developed in Grand Forks, North Dakota as "breakfast porridge" when a group of flour millers repurposed the "first break rolls" from their mill. Shredded Wheat was invented in Denver and manufactured in upstate New York before premiering to a national audience at the fair. Both Shredded Wheat and Cream of Wheat became so popular in Chicago that they helped spark the ubiquity of packaged breakfasts.

Americans Are Obsessed With Eating Healthy—and With Twinkies

Healthy eating has become an obsession. Soft-drink sales are slumping, salt is getting tossed from food, and kale is on the menu at McDonald’s.

And yet the Twinkie, that icon of indulgence, is on a tear.

For many otherwise healthy-eating American millennials, Twinkies have become food nostalgia. Nine months of forced disappearance from store shelves sharpened appetites for the golden sponge cake filled with fluffy cream, and after two bankruptcies, the 2013 acquisition of the Hostess Brands Inc. snack-cake business by a pair of private equity firms put the company back on the road to solvency.

‘𠆏or as much as millennials bring us challenges, they also have a belief that you only live once and you should enjoy yourself,” Bill Toler, chief executive officer of the Kansas City, Missouri-based Hostess, said in an interview. “They believe in a license to indulge.”

In opinion surveys, Americans rank stealthy eating right up there with healthy. While 75 percent told NPR last year they were eating wholesome food, another report, from the Boston Consulting Group and IRI, found that indulgence was a top food trend, alongside nutrition. Hostess was ranked second among growth leaders for midsize companies, behind Greek yogurt company Chobani.

Sweet and Salty

“Unhealthy products remain popular,” said Krishnakumar Davey, president of strategic analytics at IRI. “The popularity of nutritious snacks is surging, but so are sales of ice cream or salty snacks.”

A big beneficiary is Twinkies, Hostess’ golden child. One cake is 130 calories and 14.5 grams of sugar, compared with a Coke that has 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar. Apollo Global Management LLC and C. Dean Metropoulos & Co. bought Hostess for $410 million and hopped on the wave of Twinkie-love at just the right moment. Being without Twinkies and other Hostess products like Ho Hos and Ding Dongs in 2012 and 2013 unleashed a wave of sentimentality, driving fans a little bit mad.

“My wife ran out and bought eight boxes of Twinkies,” said John Stanton, a professor of food marketing at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. “Hostess got a shot in the arm by not being there.”

The cream-filled sponge cake is such a cultural icon that Yoan Moncada, a Cuban-born baseball prospect for the Chicago White Sox, gobbled as many as 85 of them in a week, according to ESPN The Magazine.

Popularity Cost

Twinkies’ new popularity came at a cost. The Hostess bankruptcy enabled the private equity buyers to start over with a fraction of a workforce that once numbered about 8,000 at several bakeries across the country. Their reconstituted company now has 1,350 employees and three baking facilities. Now, one automated production line staffed by 10 employees in Emporia, Kansas, can produce 95 percent of the iconic cakes. Apollo declined to comment.

The changes have helped produce some of the best profit margins in the food industry, just shy of what the ruthless cost-cutters of 3G Capital Inc. have posted since taking over Kraft Heinz Foods Co. with the help of Warren Buffett in 2015.

Apollo and Metropoulos took Hostess public in November, and shares have jumped 23 percent so far in 2017. Sales surged 13 percent last year. The company has carved out 12 percent of the market for packaged cakes, cutting into the sales of industry leader McKee Foods Corp., the maker of Little Debbie products, according to Euromonitor data.

Tweaked Recipe

Metropoulos, the firm that revitalized Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, tweaked the recipe for Twinkies, doubling the product’s shelf life to about 60 days, according to Toler. The change helped Hostess switch its distribution system to a lower-cost model, and allowed it to ship more products to smaller, more remote stores. About 70 percent of the company’s sales come at a combination of Wal-Mart locations, dollar-store chains and convenience stores -- not the typical domain of coastal millennials driving healthy-food trends.

“Those customers aren’t as sensitive,” Toler said.

Hostess isn’t completely ignoring wellness concerns. Its new whole-grain muffins qualify as “smart snacks” for the federal school food program, and it’s removing trans fats from its products.

But a glance at the new products the company rolled out in 2016 makes it plain Hostess is betting on frozen Deep Fried Twinkies and Twinkies ice cream.

Dean Metropoulos, founder of the investment firm, recently said Hostess was �solutely committed to participating as other companies do with the trends of wellness.”

That pledge came with a caveat.

𠇋ut we don’t see that as depriving Americans from having a great ice cream and a great Twinkie,” he said.

Shmooed Food

The biggest difference between these and regular Twinkies® is that these taste good.

Step One. Get one of these.

Yes, it's the Hostess® Twinkies® Bake Set , complete with baking pan, icing injector, spatula, and cowboy-style Twinkies® Container! If you can't find an actual Hostess® set, do a Google search for "cream canoe baking set" and you'll find many brands to choose from.

Step Two. Throw out the icing injector because it's a cheap piece of junk that will break if you attempt to actually use it. Get yourself a pastry bag fitted with a large star or round tip instead.

Step Three. Preheat oven to 350º. Make the batter for Fluffy White Cupcakes. Spray the baking pan with nonstick spray and fill the cups just under halfway full (about 1/4 cup). Bake for 15 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.

Step Four. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn them out (running a thin plastic spatula along the sides helps release the cakes) and set them on a wire rack. Let them cool completely before filling.

Step Five. Make Cream Filling :

1/4 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
1/4 cup nonhydrogenated margarine
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 TB barley malt powder (gives the filling a sweet, marshmallowy taste not to be confused with malted milk powder)

Beat together the shortening and margarine with a handheld beater or stand mixer. Add the powdered sugar and beat until completely light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and malt powder and beat for another 2 minutes.

Fill the pastry bag and poke and squeeze out about one tablespoon into three locations in the underside of each cake.

(Yes, I know I'm using the icing injector I told you to throw away trust me, I know better now.)

This will make about 16 Vegan Twinkies® with Cream Filling, but do us adults a favor and fill some with puréed organic strawberry jam instead. Or dip them in chocolate icing and make Australian Lamingtons.

Snack Food Rewind: A History of Our Favorite Treats

Bite of History: This dunkable delight debuted in the spring of 1912 by the National Biscuit Company (now known as Nabisco and owned by Kraft). But it wasn't a stand-alone offer. The Oreo was packaged as part of the Trio: the Mother Goose, the Veronese, and the Oreo Biscuit. It soon became clear that the Oreo was the star of the bunch, and the other two treats became a matter of historical record.

Various iterations of the Oreo were introduced over the last century, from a lemon-cream variety in the 1920s to Double and even Triple Stuf Oreos more recently. In 1921, Nabisco dropped the "Biscuit" from the name and changed it, more appropriately, to the "Oreo Sandwich." It morphed to the "Oreo Creme Sandwich" by 1948 and today, it's marketed as the "Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookie." Whatever Nabisco wants to name it, and however they want to jazz it up &mdash Mini Oreos, Double Delight, Milk Chocolate Covered Mint Oreos &mdash we'll always know them as "America's Favorite Cookie."

Fun Fact: Since its introduction, Nabisco has produced nearly 500 billion Oreos all around the world.

Bite of History: Chicagoans were the first to get a taste of the sweet and salty combination of peanuts, molasses, and popcorn at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Lewis and Frederick William, aka F.W., Rueckheim were responsible for the treat, but not for its clever name. According to Frito-Lay, upon tasting the treat a salesman exclaimed, "That's cracker jack!" Being a shrewd businessman, F.W. trademarked the name and thus a brand was born. In order to maintain freshness they added a wax-sealed package, an invention of Henry Gottlieb Eckstein, who became co-owner in 1902.

A baseball game just wouldn't be the same without Cracker Jack, right? Well you can thank Jack Norworth who wrote the lyrics to "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" in 1908. Cracker Jack was reported to be sold at ballgames as early as 1866 and at a Major League park in 1907.

In 1912 the company introduced tiny toys into every box. No doubt, Cracker Jack is good enough to eat even without the bonus tattoo or riddles, but we'd sure miss the fun of digging for the surprise.

Fun Fact: Why did the iconic sailor Jack become the brand's mascot? No factual evidence could be found, but it's said the seaman's pal pup, Bingo, was based on a stray dog named Russell who had been adopted by Eckstein.

Bite of History: It's no wonder that cough syrup and Jell-O share similar flavorings. In 1895, a cough syrup maker by the name of Pearl B. Wait adapted Peter Cooper's 1845 patent for gelatin dessert. But we all know, behind every successful man there is a woman. It was Wait's wife, May, who coined the name Jell-O. Wait sold his business to Orator F. Woodward of the Gennesse Pure Food Company in 1899 for a mere $450. Sure, back then that was a lot of money, but little did Wait know that sales of Jell-O would reach the $250,000 mark in three short years. That may have been aided by Woodward's clever use of advertising in Ladies Home Journal.

Over the years flavors came and flavors went. Strawberry arrived at Jell-O's inception and cherry soon followed in 1903. Coffee came and went in 1918. Cola? In and out in 1942. As everyone's lives got busier, the Jell-O innovators thought it important to reduce the preparation time. In 1974, it was sold with the notion that the gelatin would "set in 15 minutes." Now we are used to varieties like sugar-free, Jigglers, and X-treme flavors. We'll still take the classic recipe any day, and we're not alone: Strawberry is still the all-time favorite flavor.

Fun Fact: Talk about a smart way to gain brand loyalty: In the early 1900s, the company decided to offer Ellis Island immigrants a bowl of Jell-O as "Welcome to America" gift!

Bite of History: Massachusetts deserves all of the credit for Marshmallow Fluff. In 1917 Archibald Query sold his homemade marshmallow cream door-to-door in his town of Somerville, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. Sadly, wartime shortages halted his small business. After the war, Query decided to move on and sell his formula. H. Allen Durkee and Fred L. Mower were the lucky pair to purchase Query's secret recipe for just $500, and they began selling their sweet stuff for $1 a gallon under the name, Toot Sweet Marshmallow Fluff. Demand grew, and the product went from being produced in their kitchen and sold door to door to being jarred in a 10,000 square foot factory in Brookline, Massachusetts, and sold at retail locations. In 1930, the company sponsored a radio program called the "Flufferettes," which aired just before the famous Jack Benny Program. Unlike similar packaged food companies, Durkee and Mower never sold out. Today, Marshmallow Fluff is still a family run business located in Lynn, Massachusetts. Though produced in a small town, their product reaches people in cities around the world from Jerusalem to Johannesburg.

Fun Fact: In 1966 Durkee-Mower, along with Kellogg's, promoted the classic recipe for Marshmallow Treat, before they were known as Rice Krispy Treats.

Bite of History: "Hey, Fruit Smack!" Doesn't quite have the same ring as, "Hey, Kool-Aid!" But that was actually the original name of this popular beverage. It began as a soft drink syrup offered through Edwin E. Perkins' mail-order business in Hastings, Nebraska. Perkins' father ran a general store in town and it was there that he first encountered Jell-O gelatin. Inspired by that treat, in 1927 Perkins decided to concentrate his syrup into a powder and rename it Kool-Ade Soft Drink Mix. While the Fruit Smack syrup was offered in cherry, grape, lemon, orange, root beer, and raspberry, Perkins swapped out lemon for lemon-lime and strawberry replaced root beer for the powdered Kool-Ade. The packets sold for just 10 cents each and by 1929 the mix was distributed across the country. Due to high demand in 1931, Perkins dropped his other products to focus solely on his Kool-Aid. By 1950 he was selling a million packets of Kool-Aid each day! In 1953, his little project that started out of his parent's home was sold to General Foods. Kool-Aid is still the pride of Hastings, Nebraska, and the beverage is the official drink of the state.

Fun Fact: Do you know how many ice cubes the Kool-Aid man has in his head? That would be three. He's also 8 foot tall by 5 feet wide and has his own footprints on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of the famous Mann's Chinese Theater.

Bite of History: When Kraft first brought Velveeta to market, they declared it to "always melt perfectly." Velveeta's ads instructed housewives to melt a 1/2 lb. of the "famous cheese food" and gradually stir in 1/4 cup of milk. We know what you're thinking, they were suggesting to use it to make macaroni and cheese, right? Not quite. That "sauce" was recommended it be served, "over toasted sandwiches of peanut butter and sweet pickle relish." Hmm&hellip

Prior to the launch of Velveeta, Kraft spent several years researching the nutritional benefits of whey, the bi-product that is part of the cheese-making process. In 1931, the American Medical Association gave Velveeta its official seal of approval. When the product was released there in 1937, it became so wildly popular in Germany that the plant in Lindenberg could not keep up with demand. In 1953, it was introduced as a spread with less fat and fewer calories. Over the years, Velveeta has been slightly altered and new varieties have been introduced including its newest member, Spicy Buffalo.

Fun Fact: The brand name Velveeta was intended to convey the product's velvety texture.

Bite of History: James Dewar invented Twinkies when he was working as a Hostess baking manager at their Chicago plant. According to Hostess, Dewar was looking to make better use of shortcake pans that sat idle when they weren't being used during the short strawberry season. According to sources, Dewar decided to inject the little golden cakes with a smooth creme filling (first banana and later vanilla following the banana shortage during World War II). The price was right, at two for a nickel(!) they fast became an American favorite. The advertisements suggested that folks were more likely to eat fruit when served with a Twinkie. A 1957 ad even states, "Housewives have told us their families eat even more [fruit] when Twinkies are perched on side of the plates!" Ah, those were different times.

Fun Facts: The 89-year-old Lewis Browning of Shelbyville, Indiana, has been eating a minimum of one Twinkie every day since 1941, consuming more than 22,000 Twinkies in his lifetime. Compare that with Twinkie founder Dewar who reportedly ate more than 40,000. Today 500 million Twinkies are baked each year!

Bite of History: In 1932, the entrepreneurial Herman W. Lay started his small potato chip business in Nashville, Tennessee. That very same year C.E. Doolin sampled a bag of corn chips in a San Antonio cafe. Doolin loved those corn chips so much that he purchased the recipe and began to sell bags of the crunchy snacks out of his Model T Ford. While Doolin was making his corn chips, Lay was busy producing his potato chips. Lay purchased Atlanta's Barrett Food Company in 1938 and then formed H.W. Lay & Company. Over the next few decades, the two businessmen independently grew their snack chip companies. In 1961 the men joined forces and thus created Frito-Lay. Lay's soon introduced their catchy slogan, "Betcha you can't eat just one." Clearly, Americans can't: Frito-Lay company products currently accounts for nearly 60% of the U.S. snack chip industry.

Fun Fact: Have you searched for Lay's Potato Chips in England? You won't find them unless you ask for Walkers, as they are sold under that mark in the United Kingdom however in Ireland they are known as Chipsys. In Israel? They're known as Tapochips and in Brazil, Elma Chips.

Bite of History: You've heard that nuts are packed with protein, but that's old news. Really old, in fact. In 1890, a doctor in St. Louis invented an easily digestible protein-packed food: peanut butter. But in 1923, it was Joseph Rosefield who perfected the physician's spread by inventing a process that would prevent oil separation. By 1933, he registered his trademark for Skippy peanut butter, though the product wouldn't be available until 1935, when both the creamy and the chunky varieties were both introduced. In 1955, Best Foods Inc. acquired Skippy and the company spent much on advertising over the years. One of the most famous campaigns ran in 1979 and included former Mouseketeer, Annette Funicello who sold the product as having half the sugar as the other national brands. She ended each spot with their slogan of the time, "For good nutrition, it's hard to beat Skippy."

Fun Fact: In the early 1960s, Best Foods employed the famous American artist Normal Rockwell to create many of their magazine advertisements.

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