I heard the bad news on the radio.
Wonder Bread has filed for bankruptcy. Again.
It’s only been two years since Hostess Brands originally filed for bankruptcy. Apparently that wasn’t enough time to get the American public excited again about Twinkies and Ding Dongs. That surprises me, because a lot of Americans look like they eat nothing but Twinkies and Ding Dongs.
Wonder Bread has been around since 1921. It was the very first sliced bread. Before Wonder Bread, no one ever described something as “the greatest thing since sliced bread” since there was no sliced bread. I guess folks just ate bread by the hunk.
One of the main attractions at the 1939 World’s Fair was the Wonder Bread Pavilion – shaped like a big white loaf in its wrapper of blue, yellow and red balloons. The Fair also exhibited the Magna Carta and Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid”. But I’m sure Wonder Bread was the big draw.
When I was a kid, Wonder Bread was ‘fortified’. I think this meant that they put vitamins in the bread – which there was plenty of room for since there was nothing else in it. The TV commercials still play in my head: “Wonder Bread builds strong bodies eight ways.”
And when I was about ten they changed their slogan, and Wonder Bread added four more whatevers – building strong bodies twelve ways. None of those ways includes using a loaf as a dumbbell to improve your biceps. This bread is absolutely weightless. It is so cushy that it has become a party game to see who can squish a loaf of Wonder Bread into the smallest ball possible. You can get a fresh loaf down to the size of your fist. Wonder is a fun bread.
Of course, this is unfair; back in the forties, enriched white bread had NO nutritional value, and then Wonder Bread added those vitamins and minerals, and helped reduced pellagra and beriberi diseases in America. Really.
But boy, are they ever mooshy vitamins and minerals. This is bread that actually dissolves in your mouth. No chewing required.
Soft is their trademark though,and they stuck to it. When everyone started eating whole wheat bread, Wonder entered the market in their own weird way. Wonder makes the softest whole wheat bread in the country. They also use albino wheat to keep it perfectly white. Really.
And then there’s the Hostess products that don’t even pretend to be healthy: Hostess Cupcakes, Twinkies, HoHos, Ding Dongs, Suzie Qs and Sno-Balls.
In the sixties, my brother and I had arguments about what snack my mother should buy to put in our lunches. I was a Yodels fan. But my brother was Ding Dongs all the way.
I remember Sno-Balls too. Sugar remade into sponges that bounce. I remember them from when I was eight. My husband, when he happens upon them in some ancient convenience store, is delighted. So my husband’s memories are a bit more recent.
Hostess Brands has announced that, for their new comeback, they will look to update their product line with snacks more consistent with a healthy lifestyle.
Good luck with that. When I was a kid I used to cut up Wonder Bread to make pillows for my dolls.