In need of a Twinkies fix (has someone bought Wonder’s snack division yet?), today I found myself contemplating a temporary replacement that had appeared in my employer’s snack food vending machine — Mrs. Freshley’s Dreamies. Consumed with a 20-oz. bottle of Diet Pepsi Wild Cherry, I must say this desperate substitution will most likely not be repeated. Here’s why.
The cellophane is cheap, like the packaging for an off-brand whoopee cushion you’d buy at the … well, it’s not called the five-and-dime anymore, is it? These days you’d buy it at the Dollar store, but not one of the regular chains. It’ll be called the 99-cent store, or the One-Buck store, or something even more generic and boring. The signage will be written on cardboard, in black marker wielded by a five-year-old. The store is one of two left in a small strip mall located next to a “gentlemen’s club” and a purveyor of condoms, just outside the aging industrial section of town. The Buck Store sells beer, but you’d just as soon drink that as you would the watered-down shit served at the “gentlemen’s club.” At least at the Buck Store it’s cheaper and you won’t need a fistful of singles.
The cellophane splits like your roommate on rent day, so the cakes tumble onto your tabletop, causing greasy stains like those left by your roommate after she plays Halo on your Xbox 360. The coated cardboard backing is glued to the cakes, so it takes vise-grip pliers and a hacksaw to separate it from the snacky confections. You’ll find that a lot of the cake is stuck to the backing when you eventually manage to rip it free. I recommend you leave it there and throw the backing away — the less cake left for you to eat, the better.
The sponge cake is dry, like my mother’s Thanksgiving turkey, but not quite as dry as the Sahara. It contains enough air pockets to cause turbulence for a B-52, and it doesn’t “spring” back like a Twinkie does when you pinch it. It just kind of sits there, like your spouse’s cat after it takes a dump in the litter box and then trots out to the living room to accuse you of using its air and sitting in the most comfy spot in the house. The coloring approximates that of a Twinkie, but the golden hue, that of a golden retriever having rolled in the mud after a trip to the groomer, is layered over the cake, not intrinsic to the cake itself. The inner layer under the muddy golden layer is of a noticeably lighter golden shade, perhaps that of the retriever rolling around in dry dirt, instead of mud, after a trip to the groomer. The large air pockets, however, break up the cake’s colorful uniformity, giving it the look of a pimply Garbage Pail Kid. The taste is not as sweet as a Twinkie — where the Twinkie could be described as tasting like artificial honey created by little robot bees, the Dreamies taste more like a chemical reconstitution of how artificial honey might taste to someone with only three taste buds.
The “Dream” Filling
The cream filling also has a chemical taste, much like Twinkies did after their reformulation in the 80s, but, again, not as sweet. The filling is also dry, there’s not as much of it as there is in a Twinkie (thank FSM for small favors), and there’s a slightly gritty consistency to its texture. (Perhaps bits of the Sahara were used in the Dreamies “New Recipe!”.)
Overall, the Dreamies cake and filling coat the mouth with a slight film as though the adhesive used to seal the package were drizzled on the cakes. If one were to give a Twinkie a five star rating, on a scale of 1 to 5 (a tad high in overall snack satisfaction, yes, but we are using the Twinkie as the comparative model here), then Mrs. Freshley’s Dreamies would rank, at the most, two stars.
Two stars. Not recommended.
Recommended Action After Consumption
Purging or, if necessary, pumping your stomach.