In 1997 President and Mrs. Clinton created the White House Millennium Council with the theme “Honor the Past—Imagine the Future.” The Council asked former presidential and congressional medal winners and students from across the country to identify artifacts, ideas, and accomplishments which represent America at that time in history for inclusion in a National Millennium Time Capsule. The sounds of Louis Armstrong, a photograph of U.S. troops liberating a concentration camp, children’s art, and a model of the Liberty Bell are some of the more than 1300 contributions made. And a package of Twinkies!
The Time Capsule now resides at the National Archives and I had a chance to talk with some of the staff involved in processing the contents of the capsule for long term preservation. “In perpetuity” is imbedded in the DNA of the National Archives, after all. So…how did the Twinkies stand up to our rigorous standards? While they do have a reportedly long shelflife—14 years in one source—they failed the perpetuity test. The fact that Twinkies had been originally included was, of course, documented, but in the end they were eaten!
I have a long history with Twinkies, culminating in winning the New Year’s Eve Dessert Contest while at the MIT Libraries with my Sarah’s Surprise recipe. I can still remember the embarrassment of standing in the checkout line with the ingredients!
20 oz. can crushed pineapple
1 qt. vanilla ice cream
2 pkgs. orange Jello
1 cup boiling water
7 oz. bottle 7-Up less 1 Tbsp.
Halve the Twinkies lengthwise and use them to a line a 9×13 dish. Layer pineapple and soft ice cream on top of the Twinkies. Dissolve Jello in the boiling water and 7-Up. Pour over the layers and refrigerate until Jello sets. Slice and serve with Cool Whip topping.
Note: the interaction of the Jello and 7-Up is like a home chemistry experiment. Be prepared for lots of bubbling and energy released.