An Ode to Hostess Fruit Pies

Now in my 20s, and more health-conscious, I reflect with disgust on the cuisine offered to me by the public school system during those most critical years of physical development. In fact, I blame my general bad mood and erratic heart rate on a steady diet of tater tots and Salisbury steak consumed under the auspices of the federal government's Dietary Guidelines for Screwing Over the Next Generation. Thanks to Ronald Reagan, I still believe ketchup counts as a vegetable. But I will credit them with introducing me to what remains one of my favorite, though verboten, desserts: the Hostess Fruit Pie.

My school's snack shack sold these half-moon-shaped pockets of goo, and I will never forget the sensation of wolfing down my first one. The Hostess pie was perfect for those of us raised on processed fast food—we who found a traditional pie slice distressingly devoid of frosting and a little too wholesome to be considered truly decadent. At that age, an appreciation of culinary contrast had yet to develop, and I was always dismayed when, upon finishing the filled portion of a slice of pie, I was confronted with the retaining wall of crust—fruitless, flaky and bland. The Hostess pie conveniently avoided this disappointment by pushing its fillings to the very seams of its crust and coating the entire thing in a light sugary glaze that, when sucked off the fingers post-pie, provided the perfect capper.

While Hostess pies came in a variety of fruit flavors, the ones that really captured my attention as a lad were the five ounces of corporate synergy known as the Hostess Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Pies. Debuted in 1991 as a film tie-in, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Pie featured a pudding center and thick, nauseatingly green icing, as opposed to the usual fruit filling and clear gloss. I can't say I was a fan of the film—the Turtles seemed the domain of the kids who jumped off the top of the Big Toy, played tetherball and stole my pants—but the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Pies were another story; they were the apex of snack food development. These confections strayed even further from the traditional pie model by offering absolutely no fruit or natural flavors of any kind, instead boasting that they were “Filled with Vanilla Puddin' Power.” All I know is they were delicious enough to have me bolting across four lanes of traffic to the drive-through dairy every day after school; to this day, in my health-conscious adulthood, I still crave those goddamn things daily.

Hostess Fruit Pies are available at all 7-Eleven stores. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Pies are all gone.

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