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World’s Oldest Twinkie Turns 40, Still Refuses to Decompose

In 1976, Roger Bennatti, a chemistry teacher at George Stevens Academy, in Maine, unwrapped a fresh Twinkie and placed it atop a classroom chalkboard so he and his students could see how long it took for it to decompose. 40 years later, that question remains unanswered, because mould simply refuses to grow on the world’s oldest Twinkie.

The official shelf-life of a Twinkie – as stated by the company making them nowadays – is only 25 days, but as the famous Twinkie of George Stevens Academy clearly shows, it’s really a lot longer than that. It has been sitting in a glass case for four decades now, and even though it might not be safe to eat, it is looking fantastic for its age. Its shape hasn’t change a bit, and if mould hasn’t grown on it so far, chances are it never will.

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Photo via Share Kitchen

Libby Rosemeier, George Stevens Academy’s dean of students, was a student in Roger Bennatti’s class on the day this decades old experiment began. “We were studying the chemistry of food. We went next door to the store, bought Twinkies and we gave them to Mr. Bennatti and [asked him], ‘How many chemicals do you think are in something like this?’” Rosemeier recalls. “He said, ‘Let’s find out and see how long it lasts.’ He opened the Twinkie package, ate one, and put the other one on top of the [chalkboard].” The popular treat remained in his classroom for the next 28 years, until the chemistry teacher retired. From then on, the world’s oldest Twinkie became Rosemeier’s responsibility, and she had her father make a glass case to store it in.

Although many perceive this famous Twinkie as an indictment of processed foods and preservatives, Bennatti said it is simply an ongoing science experiment, one that may never end. He does admit that the ancient treat’s fame, after it was featured on popular channels like MTV, CNN or BBC, was certainly bad publicity for Hostess. “I’m surprised they haven’t sent a SWAT team to come destroy it,” he jokingly told Bangor Daily News, 3 years ago.

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Photo: video caption

The world’s oldest Twinkie has become a symbol of George Stevens Academy and it’s although Libby Rosemeier says its popularity often overshadows many of the good, important things that happen at her school, she also admits that its a great ice-breaker between students and the faculty. “It gets kids in my office just to talk,” she said. “They come to see the Twinkie, and then all of a sudden I have a dialogue going. It’s great.”

Asked if he ever imagined the Tinwkie would become such a big topic when he first placed it on his chalkboard, Roger Bennatti, now an assistant director of Fort Knox State Historic Site in Prospect, said: “I had no clue. None whatsoever. It was just an innocent ‘let’s see what happens. Now the Twinkie is a story that will never die.” Unless someone builds the courage to eat it.

 

Volunteers to eat the world’s oldest Twinkie are not hard to find. In fact, Rosemeier says students often ask her if they can take a bite of it. But it would really be a shame to stop the experiment prematurely, just out of sheer curiosity. No, the Twinkie will remain in its glass case at George Stevens Academy, until the dean retires in a few years, and then it will fall into someone else’s care. And it will probably keep changing hands for the next 100 years, or more.

via Bangor Daily News

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