Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Twinkies' New Jersey Connection

Twinkie, Deconstructed: My Journey to Discover How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated Into What America Eats by Steve Ettlinger sounds like it would be a long rant against processed food. It's actually a cheerful look into where the ingredients in Twinkies come from, which are also in a lot of other, more commonly eaten processed foods.

New Jersey kept cropping up as I made my way through the book, beginning with the Hostess bakery in Wayne.  It uses Wayne Township public water to make Twinkies. The water comes from the Wanaque Reservoir, near Wanaque of course.

Papetti's Hygrade Egg Products in Elizabeth is the world's largest egg-breaking facility, breaking 7 million a day.  Each of the tank trucks leaving the plant hold 6,000 gallons of fresh liquid eggs!  Ben & Jerry's ice cream, Hellmann's mayonnaise and Ronzoni pasta get their yolks from Papetti's.   However, Twinkies contain mostly dried eggs, to increase their shelf life.

In the 1930s, Twinkies' filling was banana flavored, but they have been vanilla-flavored ever since World War II created banana shortages. A study at Rutgers University Center for Advanced Food Technology identified 216 of natural vanilla's flavor components. Of course, Twinkies use artificial vanilla since most of the world's vanilla comes from Madagascar, Indonesia, and Tahiti.

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