Relax, Twinkie lovers; treat not going away

A world without Twinkies, Sno Balls or Ding Dongs? Ho no, what a Zinger. Donette say it's true.

Cheer up, junk-food junkies. Yes, Hostess Brands is seeking bankruptcy protection, but it said the supply of its snacks and other baked goods is safe while it tries to reorganize.

On Tuesday, Hostess filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the second time. The company cited a host of reasons, including pension and medical-benefits obligations, more competition and the economy.

Hostess has about 19,000 employees and operates in 49 states. Annual sales are about $2 billion, The Associated Press reported. The company makes numerous products, including Wonder, Nature's Pride and Merita breads.

Jermaine Blake, 29, of Charleston, was standing outside a King Street store on Wednesday when told of the news. Blake has had to lose weight and said he's off the Twinkies for now. Well ... most of the time. "I sneak eat it," he said with a sheepish smile.

Steve Miller, 60, of California, in Charleston for a conference, said it's been less than a month since his last Twinkie fix. "It's the kind of thing you get a craving for. How could you not have sponge cake with some kind of foreign cream in it?"

While Hostess cupcakes date to 1919 -- the seven squiggles of icing and cream filling were added later -- Twinkies have made the most headlines over their 82 years.

Remember the "Twinkie defense" put up by Dan White during his trial for killing San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978? White claimed he wasn't right because of too much junk food.

Or the Rice University science project in 1995 that subjected Twinkies to a battery of tests? One conclusion was that the bus-shaped cakes were not "sentient in any way we can understand."

In other words, Twinkies have no ability to feel. Really?

Presumably, the health food movement hasn't been kind to Twinkies and their fellow snack icons. But Hostess churns out 500 million Twinkies alone every year, so somebody has their hand in the Twinkie package.