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November 16, 2012 at 11:45 AM

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I don't mourn Hostess, but locavores should

Hey, locavores! Wake up! You’ve lost a local Seattle producer of food: Hostess Brands. That’s right! Locally produced Twinkies, Ho Hos, Hostess cupcakes and Wonder Bread.

“Locavores” are supposed to be for locally produced food, but they don’t celebrate companies like Hostess. Why not? Hostess was local (not the headquarters, but the factory). If local is what you care about, why not mourn for Hostess?

I point this out not because it’s what I think; it’s what locavores ought to think if they held their “locavore” idea with any consistency. They like food that’s local. I like food that’s good. In May and June I buy champagne mangoes from Mexico, because I like mangoes and my wife likes them. Mangoes don’t grow here and we don’t want to be without them. We buy saltine crackers from China because we lived in Hong Kong and learned to like them. Did it take energy to move them across the Pacific? It did, but not much, else the crackers would cost a lot, and they don’t. In any case, we pay for the energy used. Same with the energy to move the breakfast meat called scrapple from Pennsylvania. It’s good stuff, and nobody makes it here.

It is sad when companies go out of business, and a shock to the company’s employees and vendors, but it is part of commercial life. Tastes change. Mine did. As a kid, I used to ride my bike down to the corner store and buy Hostess cupcakes. (Back in the early ’60s, two cupcakes were 12 cents plus a penny tax.) I liked Hostess cupcakes. I don’t like them anymore. Same with Wonder Bread. I prefer artisan bread from Essential Baking, Macrina Bakery, Grand Central Bakery, etc. When I have a slice of their bread I enjoy it and want another. When I get stuck with Wonder Bread I feel cheated, and when I have a Hostess cupcake, I regret that I began it, and start looking for a place to toss the remains.

I won’t miss these products.

Life moves on. Our food is getting better. Some of the improvement is happening locally, and that is fine. Some of the improvement is in food imported into the region. That’s fine, too. The point is not the geography.

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