Wednesday, January 5, 2011

You'll Pry My Butterscotch Krimpets From My Cold Dead Hands

Food of the gods

When I started this blog, I called it "The Philadelphia Preservation Society", mostly as a joke, playing off the Kinks' Village Green Preservation Society, one of my favorite records. Well, maybe we need a Preservation Society now.

A&P, who owns the local chains of Superfresh and Pathmark, declared bankruptcy in December, leaving the fate of 5,500 jobs up in the air. They've already closed several stores around my town (Lansdale). Safeway has closed some Genuardi's, as well, and now apparently Acme--yes, "the Ac-a-mee", my dear North Philadelphians--is closing some stores.

All of this is bad enough--especially for those who live in the city and only have access to public transportation, making getting fresh food that much more difficult. But there are some surprising repercussions, apparently:


Now, you have to understand--Tastykakes are as much a part of Philly as the Liberty Bell, pretzels, cheesesteaks, Yuengling, and questionable behavior at sporting events. Everyone knows how to scrape all the butterscotch icing from the package of krimpets; and who does love the creamy inside of those little Kandy Kake hocky pucks? And the mini-pies: baked, not fried, and filled with blueberries, or cherries, or apples...

Man, I'm getting hungry.

If we lose Tastykakes, we lose another part of Philly. "It's just snacks," you might say. Well, sure--but since when isn't food part of culture? What's Italy without salami? Ireland without potatoes? India without curry? Food is one of the most elementary things we deal with every day. "But it's just mass produced cakes." Sure, you could say that--but I bet you haven't eaten one.

It's a question of jobs, of course--if Tastykakes gets sold, we could lose even more jobs, or worse--lose the jobs altogether, like when Hershey sent all their jobs to Mexico. That's right, Hershey, PA doesn't make chocolate. If they get sold, the recipe could change, and not taste as good as it does now.

Sure, it's silly to get sentimental about snacks. But it's about identity, and about the loss of regionalism. Tastykakes and Yards tastes better than Twinkies and Bud Light (well, maybe don't eat beer and cakes together). The local almost always tastes better than the national. Smaller scale allows a greater attention to detail than a larger scale.

And hey, I want to win a case of tastykakes next time I see the Flyers.

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