American Culture Night

My kids.  I tell ya.

If they ask what’s for dinner and I say, “bulgogi,” or “chop jae,” they’re all, “okay,” without even batting an eyelash.  If I say, “calzones,” most of them will jump up and down for joy.  If I say, “escargot,” . . . who am I kidding?  Like I’d ever try to cook snails???  For my family????

Anyway, point is, they are a little more culinarily versed than “chicken nuggets and french fries.”

But start talking Twinkies and they’re all, “Huh?”

I wasn’t really aware of this until the other night, following the beach blanket bingo party on our then oceanfront property, when we were having dinner.  McH was wishing he’d stopped at the grocery store in town (town, in this case, being Radiator Springs, as our town has no grocery store) after work and picked up some Ben & Jerry’s for dessert.

Yes, we are die-hard conservatives, but he’s willing to reach across the aisle for some whack-a-doodle ice cream.

Anyway, the conversation went something like this:

Him: “Too bad I didn’t stop and get some Ben & Jerry’s.  I thought about it, now I’m wishing I had.”

Me:    “Hmm . . . well, I doubt the quickie mart has any.  They might have a cake mix, though, if you want me to make a cake or something.”

Him:  “Nah . . . I don’t know.”

Me:    (totally jokingly) “You could always run up to the quickie mart and get some Twinkies.  I mean, what self-respecting quickie mart doesn’t have Twinkies?  They are a quickie mart staple from sea to shining sea.”

Random Child:  “Twinkies?  What are Twinkies?”

Random Child:  “There’s not really any such thing as Twinkies, is there?”

Random Child:  “Mom, you’re just making that up.”

Him:  “No, they are real.  They’re like little yellow cakes with a cream filling in the middle.”

Random Child:  “Yellow cake?  It sounds like it would be better if it were chocolate cake.”

Me:  “Oh, well, then you’re talking Ding Dongs, or Ho Ho’s.”

Random Child:  “Ho Ho’s????”

Random Child:  “Ding Dongs?”

Not-So-Random Child:  “You mean like no good white trash ho-ho’s?????”

McH and I looked at each other with dismay and bewilderment.  I mean, sure, it’s good that we try to have healthy food in the house and limit the junk food, but it is just un-American to not even know what a Twinkie, let alone a Ho Ho, is.  And so a snap decision was made.

“We need to have an American Culture Night!” I decreed.  This is the first time we have done this, and it was obviously long overdue.  With little discussion of the matter my husband zipped down the road to the local quickie mart to gather the needed supplies.  All the while, the kids were bouncing around the house saying things like, “What’s American Culture Night?”  “Are we really having an American Culture Night?”  “Is Daddy really going out to buy Twinkies?”  “Will he get enough for all of us?”

Yes, the mood was quite festive.  And it just got more frenetic once he came home with the bounty:

American Culture Night 2

McH said the quickie mart clerk laughed when he went to pay, and asked him if he thought he had enough.  He, honest to goodness, told her it was American Culture Night at our house.  I’m sure that’s got the town a-talkin’.

American Culture Night 3 

One by one, McH cut the junk into pieces so that everybody could have a taste of each chemical-laden, cholesterol-raising, heart-attack inducing treat.

We learned a few things that night:

There is a limit to how much crap kids can eat, and I have the photos to prove it;


Zingers are now a Hostess treat.  I’m not sure what happened to Dolly Madison, or when; but after watching years of Dolly Madison Zinger commercials during the Peanuts holiday specials, I felt like part of my childhood had fallen victim to a hostile snack cake take over.  This was all explained to the children, for their benefit.

After everyone had been properly introduced to the quickie mart snack segment of American Culture, those who could still stand finished off the evening with a little Guitar Hero.

American Culture Night Rocks

Because what’s more American than Twinkies and age-inappropriate rock and roll?

Better pictures to come in a PW protected post.

And George, if you’re out there, Tewt the Newt is making a run to the quickie mart.

10 thoughts on “American Culture Night

  1. The last time we headed south for a few days it was necessary to stop for junk food (combo of me forgetting a box and my mom craving sugar.) My girls were excited, Christmas morning excited, to be able to pick any one piece of junk food. After 30 minutes we returned with Twinkies, Ho-Ho’s, and my favorite Orange Cupcakes. Imagine my disappointment when biting into a Hostess Orange Cupcake and just not liking the dang thing. It was dry and crusty sugary, and the cream filling coated my mouth funny. Then I tried one of the girls’ Twinkies. Yuck.

    Have they changed the way they make them or have I changed? I was glad not to like them any more as they no longer appeal to me, but it seemed sad in some respect.


  2. My kids know what Ding Dongs are. They’ve heard the stories over and over on how I lived on Ding Dongs and Coke during my last two pregnancies because that was all I could keep down. Somehow it has made Ding Dongs that much more desirable to them.


  3. Wow- glad you had culture night because every child needs a perservatice-laden twinkie at least once. And really, if you had leftovers, I am sure you could save them for your next American culture nigh in say, 5 or 10 years.


  4. Fell off couch laughing, then read this out loud to husband, as he JUST the other night was sent out to retrieve Hostess cupcakes (the choco kind) and bag of Pepperidge Farm Sausalito cookies. Hadn’t had either in years and years and years and had a craving and — they were truly awful. And yeah, it made us a little sad. 🙂 Guess you really can’t go home again (boo).


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