Wednesday, May 17, 2006

It's Time For Tastykake to Go Bye-Bye

Tastykakes, along with hoagies, cheese steaks, soft pretzels wid (with) mustard, corrupt politicians and underachieving sports teams, are longtime Philadelphia staples.

Five generations of Philadelphians have snacked on Tastykake pies, cupcakes, donuts and other sweets. My mother would mail me care packages with Tastykakes when I was banging around the Far East and later when I lived in San Francisco. Indeed, Tastykake does a brisk trade mailing its products to Philadelphia area ex-pats.

But times have changed and Tastykake has not kept up. Although you can now buy Tastykakes far from Philadelphia, its business has been declining for years because of stiff competition from national bakeries and perhaps for another reason that I'll get to in a moment.

Now word comes that the Tasty Baking Co. may close its original bakery in the Nicetown neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia. The 84-year-old multi-story building is not configured for efficient modern baking operations and Tastykake says it may move its operations to a new bakery or its second, more modern bakery in the far suburbs.

I have a better idea. Tastykake ought to just give up. Here's why.

THE TASTE TEST
The last few years excepted, I cannot remember a time in my life when I didn’t eat Tastykakes. This was not out of habit. I could have chosen Sara Lee or Hostess or any number of other baked goods. I ate Tastykakes because they tasted good.

In junior high school, I would buy a Tastykake lemon pie and a Coke at a mom and pop grocery at the end of my paper route. (The pies cost 11 cents and the Cokes a nickel.) I packed Tastykake chocolate cupcakes or Butterscotch Krimpets in my school lunch. When I worked in Philadelphia years later, I would cap a cheese steak lunch with a Tastykake, usually a fudge bar or chocolate mini donuts. The Dear Friend and Conscience, who lives fairly far from Philadelphia, craves peanut butter Tandy Takes, although she has trouble finding them.

Like a lot of my friends, I’ve become more health conscious in recent years and Tastykakes have not been a part of my diet.

But when I read of the Tasty Baking Co.’s plight, I thought I’d help the home team and eat a Tastykake from time to time.

So I pedaled over to the neighborhood Seven-11 and eyeballed the Tastykake rack. Should I buy a lemon pie? Chocolate cupcakes? Butterscotch Krimpets? Tandy Takes? I settled on a four pack of chocolate mini donuts that, according to the stamp on the wrapper, had been baked only a couple days earlier.

Back home, I poured myself a tall glass of (organic whole) milk and tore open the pack. I was a little disappointed when I broke the first donut in half. I would have needed a micrometer to measure the thickness of the chocolate icing, which was an unappealing dull brown. And there were big air pockets in the yellow cake filling.

Then I took what was my last bite of a Tastykake. Looks were not deceiving. The taste can only be described as chocolate-flavored cardboard.

Tastykake indeed.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Clueless - please take your organic milk and choke on it. Tastykakes are far and away the best in their class. They taste fantastic. Is it junk food? Yes, thank God. Please stick to bean curd cakes and carob or whatever floats your boat.

Shaun Mullen said...

Well, I can only assume from your comment that your taste in snack food is about as original as your name -- Anonymous.

akamel said...

sure, that classic tastykake flavor was somewhat lost when they abandoned the old wax-paper wrapper years ago, but they're still better than most, as far as junk food goes. i'd rather have a tastykake chocolate cupcake than those horrible hostess ones anyday. seriously, those are nasty.

Anonymous said...

I'm far a away from Philly, in LOs Angeles, Ca. but I got a box of assorted goodies from the bakery last week. They are still far superior to the Hostess and Little Debbie crap that you get here in California. If you a looking for junk foods, TastyKake is still the best around, even though the quality may have changed a little from the time when I was a kid in Philly and buying them everyday.

Anonymous said...

Are you even from Philadelphia???
They're called KandyKakes, dumbass.

Anonymous said...

the new Tastykake factory is gorgeous! And Green! And Tastykakes are better than ever. No other packaged "baked good" comes close.

Anonymous said...

Well I grew up in Philly and they are still the best anywhere. As far as the one comment about the Kandy Kakes, you must not be that old. They were actually called Tandy Takes first before changing the name to Kandy Kakes. My favorite.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree the person who wrote this sounds like he is in the industry, hostess and little debbie are complete garbage and a sugary mess

Anonymous said...

I just visited the Delaware Valley and brought back 6 pies to NC. I had a cherry pie tonight and the biggest problem I had was the amount of filling. I know there was more in the older style but, it tasted fine. And I like the tin... kinda funner!

SJJ

sharyn mcnamee said...

I go back to Philly a couple times a year , and always come home with a bag of TastyKakes. I have been in the Midwest for many years there is nothing to compare there. I am a little disappointed in some new stuff , smaller , less filling but little Debbie and hostess can't compare!!! Butterscotch and jelly krimpets ,!

Anonymous said...

I noticed the filling in the fruit pies is mostly flavored syrup with very little fruit. It wasn't that way in the past.

Hillary Clinton said...

Stupid liberal jibberish. STFU and go eat a ding dong cupcake.