Will Ho Hos (and Twinkies) go the way of the dodo?

(Source: Interstate Bakeries Corporation/Hostess)
(Source: Interstate Bakeries Corporation/Hostess)

(RNN) - The people who own the company that makes some of America's most favorite guilty pleasures might feel like turning to their own products for some emotional stress-eating.

Hostess Brands, Inc., maker of Ho Hos, Ding Dongs, Wonder Bread and the iconic Twinkie, filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York on Wednesday.

If you're already having withdrawal attacks, don't panic. AP reports that Hostess will be able to keep stores stocked with Ding Dongs, Ho Hos and other snacks during the reorganization, and a company spokesman vowed as much on national TV.

A news release on the Hostess Brand Inc. website said the company has approximately 19,000 employees, and part of the bankruptcy process includes a timeline to address labor agreements.

"Throughout the proceeding, we're going to operate, business as normal," Hostess spokesman Erik Halvorson told CNN. "They'll keep making Twinkies."

That's good news for all the state fairs where deep-fried Twinkies have become a staple. The cream-filled cake logs have entered the national consciousness in other ways, as well.

"Twinkie defense" is a phrase coined when the attorney for the man who assassinated San Francisco Regional Supervisor Harvey Milk came up with a wild defense strategy based on the notion that his client went crazy from eating too much junk food. The term has come to be synonymous with any desperate legal maneuver, but is not an actual legal term.

A few years back, adventurous dieter Mark Haub went on a strict regimen that consisted of Twinkies, nutty bars, donuts and some Oreo cookies. He lost 27 pounds – but he did limit himself to 1,800 calories per day.

Despite pop culture myth, Twinkies are not so preservative-packed that they will last forever – but they sure do take a while to disintegrate.

Roger Bennatti, a science teacher at George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill, ME, left an unwrapped Twinkie sitting on his blackboard for three decades – until he retired. He told NPR in 2005 that it had a little chalk dust on it, but looked the same, although he wouldn't want to eat it.

Good call. The ancient confection was definitely not fit for human consumption.

An employee of one of Hostess' subsidiary companies told the New York Times in 2000 that the Twinkie shelf life was only seven to 10 days – meaning the snack cakes are pulled off the shelves at the point because they're going stale.

Twinkies have become such part of American life that President Bill Clinton included one in the millennium time capsule in 1999 – which will be opened at the end of this century.

The question now: will Hostess still be around?

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