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Small Wonders: Ding-dong, the Ding Dong is dead

November 23, 2012|By Patrick Caneday

Like a lot of people, I met the news of Hostess Brands closing with something between melancholic shock and shoulder-shrugging resignation.

Never a huge fan of Twinkies, I was relieved that I finally got to eat a deep-fried one at the L.A. County Fair recently. Take that, Bucket List.

But then the reality began to set in that I may never get to taste a Ding Dong again. Ding Dongs were the favored dessert of my grandmother when she watched me and my brother. If we were playing with our friends Tina and Liz, she’d hand us each one at the end of the night and tell us to be good gentlemen by walking the ladies home. We got across the street and out of view, then sat down to devour our Ding Dongs while watching the girls walk the rest of the way.

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So I set out last weekend to get what might be the last Ding Dong of my life. Little did I know or expect there had already been a run on that food bank. These things are supposed to have a post-apocalyptic shelf life. Doesn’t anyone carry a back stock anymore?

My first stop was Pavilions, where there was nary a Zinger, Ho Ho or Fruit Pie. Down Alameda to Vons. Not even a Honey Bun, but they did have a few low-cal Hostess snacks that wouldn't interest even the most nostalgic. A sign recommending the generic Safeway brand goodies really got me scared.

I decided to broaden my search to include the smaller shops. Up Magnolia to Handy Market. Nothing. To San Fernando and 7-11. Zip. Golden Farms Market. Zilch. Up Glenoaks to Ralphs. Nada. It was like they’d been erased from existence.

The more I searched in vain, the more desperate became my craving. Would I ever again taste the spongy goodness, waxy chocolate-like coating and “crème” substance ever again?

Down Brand Boulevard I remembered a small neighborhood shop on California. Maybe these tiny markets were missed in the world’s mad dash for the last remaining Hostess treats. Haykashen Market had none. Up to Verdugo, perchance Smart and Final? Not a crumbcake (but there was the ever-present aroma of Original Recipe filling the air from KFC as it has at that intersection since the dawn of time).

I felt like Charlie in search of a Golden Ticket, hunting for any shop that still had Wonka Bars.

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