Science Experiments with Twinkies?

March 7th, 2006 by admin Leave a reply »

Recommended Website:
The T.W.I.N.K.I.E.S Project

You are undoubtedly familiar with the popular, cream-filled, golden sponge snack cake known as a “Twinkie.” Did you know that T.W.I.N.K.I.E.S. stands for Tests With Inorganic Noxious Kakes In Extreme Situations? The T.W.I.N.K.I.E.S. Project was a series of experiments conducted during finals week, 1995, at Rice University. The tests were designed to determine the properties of that incredible food, the Twinkie — and are “proof” that scientists have a sense of humor. This website is just for fun. The tests and the results are featured at this website and include:

  • Resistivity Test — Electrical current was passed through a Twinkie.
  • Gravitational Response Test — Twinkie was dropped from the 4th floor of a building to test its response to gravity.
  • Radiation Test — Twinkie was microwaved (they explode in a matter of seconds with lots of residual smoke).
  • Turing Test — A test to determine if Twinkies are intelligent.
  • Rapid Oxidation Test — An attempt to determine Twinkie combustibility.
  • Solubility Test — Submerge a Twinkie in liquid and observe the results.
  • Maximum Density Test — What happens when you liquefy a Twinkie?

CAUTION: Parents, as always, should preview this website for suitable content. The Rice University students that conducted the experiments use humor (with tongue-in-cheek) in describing the experiments and the results. While the experiments were actually conducted, and the site is deceptively designed with a “kid-friendly format” — it is a spoof. If you share this site with your kids, make sure they understand it’s a joke. Some kids, after viewing the site, may want to try the experiments themselves. While some could be replicated safely (the solubility test, for example), other tests that involve electrical current, fire, and microwaving are DANGEROUS. PARENTAL DISCRETION STRONGLY ADVISED! Perhaps it would be better to say, “Kids, don’t try this at home.”

If, after checking out the website you are inspired to learn more about Twinkies, here are some fun facts and resources for further learning:

  • When Twinkies were first introduced in the 1930s, the price was two for a nickel. In 1951, a package of two cost 10 cents; in 1966, 12 cents. Today, the price ranges from two for 99 cents to two for $1.29.
  • In 1999, President Clinton and the White House Millennium Council selected the Twinkie to be included in the nation’s Millennium Time Capsule, representing “an object of enduring American symbolism.”
  • Twinkies have been featured in major movies, including “Ghostbusters,” “Grease,” and “Sleepless in Seattle.”
  • Chicago consumes more Twinkies per capita than any other city in the US.
  • Although urban legends claim Twinkies have a shelf-life of “forever” — Twinkies actually last about twenty-five days, an unusually long time for a baked product to stay fresh. The secret to Twinkies’ longevity is their lack of dairy ingredients. Dairy products cause rapid spoilage in bakery items.

At the official Hostess Twinkies website you’ll find all kinds of recipes that call for Twinkies including Twinkie Sushi, Twinkie Tacos, and Twinkie Wedding Cake!

You’ll find interesting history, trivia, and a recipe for Fried Twinkies here: http://www.kitchenproject.com/history/twinkie.htm

Have fun!

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