A Disturbing Twinkie That Has, So Far, Defied Science

Enlarge this image

For eight years, a box of Twinkies sat in Colin Purrington’s basement until last week when he finally opened them. Varying levels of mold had developed on the snack cakes, and he eventually sent them to two West Virginia University scientists to further study the kind of fungus growing on them.

Matt Kasson


hide caption

toggle caption

Matt Kasson

Enlarge this image

Purrington compared the cross-section and filling of a Twinkie from 2012 (left) with one from this year.

Colin Purrington


hide caption

toggle caption

Colin Purrington

Enlarge this image

One of the Twinkies from the 2012 box had collapsed into a shriveled mass. On Twitter, Purrington wrote, «You might be curious why I had Twinkies from 2012 in my basement. That was the year the company was reported to be going belly up, so I’d rushed out and bought a box for future giggles.»

Colin Purrington


hide caption

toggle caption

Colin Purrington

Enlarge this image

Cladosporium colonies emerge from a Twinkie sample (left) and viewed at 20X (right) using a compound microscope.

Matt Kasson


hide caption

toggle caption

Matt Kasson

Cladosporium colonies emerge from a Twinkie sample (left) and viewed at 20X (right) using a compound microscope.

Matt Kasson

Purrington, meanwhile, has reflected on his Twinkie experience. While his father had no objection to eating moldy foods, he recalls, his mother generally treated «sell-by» dates with more respect.

«I’m more with my mom on expiration dates now,» says Purrington. «I think if you’re browsing baked goods at the store, if you get the freshest one, it’s probably going to taste better.»

A cross-section of the dead Twinkie! 😂 pic.twitter.com/GjihFAlFiF

— Matt Kasson (@kasson_wvu) October 8, 2020

Holding on to a Twinkie for eight years is actually not that long in the grand scheme of things. At the George Stevens Academy in Maine, for example, there’s a Twinkie that’s been around since a science teacher started an observational experiment in 1976.

That Twinkie currently resides in the office of Libby Rosemeier, who reports that it «sits in a little glass and wood display case much like the shield on my desk that is necessary because of the pandemic.» The venerable Twinkie will be given back to the science department, she says, when she retires at the end of this school year.

It’s safe and sound for now, but nothing lasts forever—not Twinkies, and not people.

Perhaps that’s why folks are so fascinated with the shriveled, mummified Twinkie, which offers such a harsh contrast to the golden sponge cake icon that lives in their memories.

«When those memories are tainted by a visual reality like the Twinkie experiment, we are kind of caught off guard,» says Kasson. «We’re like, no, that’s a symbol of my childhood! You can’t take that from me, too.'»

«We’re living in a time where we’re all really grappling with our mortality,» agrees Lovett. «Eventually, all of us are food for fungi. Seeing that is sort of facing the reality of our mortality and our destination.»

  • snack
  • mold
  • fungi
  • expiration date
  • twinkies

admin

Добавить комментарий