Sunday, March 13, 2005

a (sugar) shock!

Let's start from the beginning...

I grew up not religious and certainly not keeping kosher. And like any other normal American boy, I enjoyed Hostess. Twinkies, Ho-Hos, Fruitcakes, you name it.

Now as I came in contact with religious Jews, particularly when I went to an Orthodox day school, I not only learned about the laws of kashrut, but also started getting acquainted with the culture. Part of American Orthodox culture is pining for whatever kosher food you can't get where you live. The Canadians always want Entenmann's. And in San Francisco, where I lived, the ex-East Coasters missed Drake's Cakes. I had no idea what they were, except that my rabbis really wanted them. Me - I was happy with my Hostess.

As I started becoming religious, I naturally had to drop the Hostess. They had Lard! (Now they're much better - only beef fat .) And so it was until I moved to Boston after a few years in Israel.

Here they had Drake's Cakes! And they were good. Devil Dogs, Yodels, Ring Dings. All good. I never had to look at Hostess. This was the Jewish version.

And even here in Efrat, we can - and sometimes do - buy Drake's Cakes. And last week, when we bought a box of Yodels, I happened to look at the box. And I saw they had a web site, which I decided to visit.

And what exactly did I find on the website? And end to my innocence. Hostess and Drake's Cakes are made by the same company!

Now I'm not generally terribly naive about these things. I was a mashgiach for the OU, so I saw all sorts of behind the scenes kashrut things, where treif and kosher products were made in the same factory, and where occasionally I was privy to information that stuff that many people thought was treif was actually kosher.

But somehow this is different. I can't quite explain it. It's just that Hostess was so treif, and Drake's not just kosher, but somehow Jewish. It would be like finding out that the Pope is actually a Lubavitcher and Jackie Mason a practicing Catholic priest - and they live in the same house!

Anyway, I'll leave with a couple of very funny ratings of Hostess products: