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Sometimes I’ll go up to the Pennsylvania Dutch Market that’s only opened from Wednesday-Saturday in Laurel, Maryland. That market features all kinds of Amish-made goodies that are sold in stalls that are run by the Amish themselves. Here is what the market itself is like along with some of the homemade goods that are sold there.

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The next photo shows the parking lot outside of the market. As you can see, it’s a very popular place to go food shopping. The parking lot gets so filled with cars that I frequently park in the Home Depot parking lot next door and walk over to the market.

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There was a really lovely cloud formation that I saw in the parking lot during one of my trips to that market that I can’t resist sharing here.

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The last two photo shows some of the food items I’ve purchased from that market on separate trips.

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St. Patrick's Day

Here are some appropriate photos for the occasion, starting with this bag of Guinness potato chips that I found at a local Wegmans a few weeks ago.

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day: #Guinness Potato Chips.

I recently purchased a bag and I tried a few chips yesterday. I found that they have a nice earthy flavor that’s a nice contrast from the other potato chips that are out there. Despite that, I probably won’t be buying this too often because these chips were imported from the U.K. and Wegmans sold them for a whopping $3.99 per bag. (I can get a bag of Utz or Lay’s chips of the same size for around $1-2 per bag.) I recommend them for anyone who wants to try something different.

There is this house in Greenbelt, Maryland that likes to go all out for each holiday. I took pictures of this house around Halloween and Valentine’s Day. That same house decided to decorate for St. Patrick’s Day.

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What’s more, there are two windsocks that were hung near the light display.

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And, for the last photo of the day, here’s a picture I took at Wegman’s a few days ago. It’s more about March 14 than St. Patrick’s Day but these pies for Pi Day are cute nonetheless.

Pi Day at Wegmans Supermarket

As for me, I’m going to observe St. Patrick’s Day in the way that I’ve been doing for years. Tonight for dinner I’m going to eat some beef stew made from Guinness beer. Last night I purchased this Irish Soda Bread mix from Aldi (all I need to do is just add milk) so I’m going to whip it up, bake it, and serve it with the beef stew. I also recently purchased some Kerrygold brand garlic and herb butter on sale at Safeway so I’m going to eat the Guinness chips as an appetizer then spread the butter on slices of the newly-baked Irish soda bread and eat them with the beef stew.

I saw a couple of comic book superheroes in the most unlikely places last week. First was this display I saw in a local Safeway which featured a large Batman balloon in a crouching position while holding a smaller Batman balloon.

Batman A few days later I was in the grocery section of Target when I saw this package of Spider-Man mozzarella cheese sticks on sale. (I ended up buying a more generic mozzarella cheese sticks pack mainly because the one with the Spider-Man picture was priced about $1-2 higher.) Spider-Man Cheese Sticks

Here’s an interesting article on how playing with dolls can unleash a child’s creativity in many different ways.

One of the earliest photographic process was the daguerreotype, which was such a huge hit all over the world that it was the most commonly used technique in photography for many years after it was invented. Here is a review of the then-new form of photography that was originally written in 1840 by none other than Edgar Allan Poe.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the current incident where an anti-U.S. government armed militia (consisting mainly of white men) have taken over a wildlife refuge in Oregon. (If you’re not, you can read this excellent article on The Guardian‘s website, which contains some background information of this current story. Or you can view this hilarious yet informative Taiwanese animation.) The militia have been derided on social media as Y’all Qaeda and Vanilla ISIS. At one point the militia members begged the general public to send snacks to them because, apparently, they didn’t bring enough food with them before they began this armed standoff. There is a Facebook group called Snacks for Y’all Qaeda whose members have been busy churning out hilarious parody memes at a very high rate. There are some incredibly creative memes out there that words alone just can’t describe.

Or if memes aren’t your thing, you can check out some hilarious Oregon Militia Homoerotic Fan Fiction.

UPDATE (January 10, 2015): Cliven Bundy has apparently set up a GoFundMe page in order to raise money for this beleaguered sons who are among the Y’all Qaeda militia members currently holed up in Oregon. As of this writing no money has been raised but it has attracted plenty of hilarious comments. Here’s a sample:

Sorry, but I don’t believe in perpetuating a cycle of dependence to abled bodied, big strapping specimens of masculinity who’ve spent all the government checks on guns and ammo. Maybe chewing on a bullet will help to ward off those hunger pangs.

UPDATE 2 (January 10, 2015): The above GoFundMe page has been cancelled just a few hours after I provided the link. Had I known this was going to happen, I would’ve provided a few more choice comments from that page than the above quote.

The past few days the U.S. has been rocked by news of the sudden closing of a beloved iconic company, Hostess, the maker of the famous Twinkies along with other beloved snacks like Ho Hos, Suzi-Q, Zingers, Snowballs, and more.

What the hell happened? Hostess claimed that it was those greedy unions members who went on strike because they wanted their pay and benefits increased to outrageous levels and the company had no other option but to close. However if you look at other sources, you’d know that it wasn’t that nasty union who forced Hostess to close down for good due to its sheer greed. Hostess went into bankruptcy for the second time since 2009. For the past 8 years Hostess has had 6 CEOs (none of whom with experience in the bread or cake baking industry) and it had been owned by Wall Street investors: so-called “restructuring experts,” managers from other non-baking food companies, and now a “liquidation specialist.”

The union members who are now blamed for the Hostess closings had watched as money from previous concessions that was supposed to go toward capital investment, product development, plant improvement and new equipment was squandered in executive bonuses, payouts to Wall Street investors and payments to high-priced attorneys and consultants. Over the past 15 months, Hostess workers have seen the company unilaterally end contractually obligated payments to their pension plan. Despite saving more than $160 million with this action, the company fell deeper into debt.

If all that wasn’t enough, creditors of Hostess Brands Inc. said in court papers the company may have "manipulated" its executives’ salaries higher in the months leading up to its Chapter 11 filing, in what the creditors called a possible effort by Hostess to "sidestep" Bankruptcy Code compensation provisions. The high pay that Hostess executives received had been going on for years. One example: Hostess’s then-CEO, Brian Driscoll, saw his salary rise to $2.55 million from $750,000—a 300% increase.

Basically what those Wall Street investors did to Hostess was what Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital did to the now-defunct KB Toys: Purchased a profitable company whose products these investors had little or no prior experience in, drastically slashed workers’ salaries and benefits, laid off scores of employees, refused to invest in things like research and development or new equipment, and paid themselves outrageous salaries and bonuses until the company began to hemorrage money so much that it had to close.

Hostess was one of those solid American brands that many people were familiar with. I know that Hostess was a major part of my youth. I had lots of memories snacking on things like Ho Hos, Twinkies, and Suzy-Q. When I was younger I used to frequently eat a Hostess snack as a dessert with my lunch. I never forgot when I spent my freshman year at Anne Arundel Community College when someone from Hostess sent two of its employees to the college’s Student Center. One person was dressed as the Twinkies mascot while the other person gave away free Twinkies to students.

Here’s another memory I’m going to divulge. My husband, who abruptly ran away from home last December and has largeley avoided me since, once told me a deep dark secret when he saw me snacking on a Twinkie. At the time we were both students at the University of Maryland at College Park and we had been dating seriously for at least six months or more. My future estranged husband told me that when he was an undergraduate student at Oberlin College he worked at the radio station there when he was snacking on a Twinkie and another campus radio station person saw him and started calling him "Twinkie." That Twinkie nickname stuck for the next four years that he was at Oberlin.

My husband didn’t want me to tell anyone about how he was once nicknamed Twinkie. If he hadn’t walked out on me last December with zero notice, I would not be revealing his secret in this blog post.

Yesterday I decided to head out for a final visit to the Hostess Bakery Thriftshop in Beltsville, Maryland. I didn’t go there very often mainly because the majority of the food sold there wasn’t very healthy for me and if I got a craving for Hostess there is a convenience store closer to my home that I usually go to buy such a snack. But the white building and the colorful sign was definitely a fixture on Route 1.

A Farewell to Hostess
A Farewell to Hostess
A Farewell to Hostess
A Farewell to Hostess

A fleet of Hostess trucks was parked in the back of the building after the trucks made their last delivery of Hostess products ever.

A Farewell to Hostess
A Farewell to Hostess

Despite the building’s large size on the outside, the store itself is pretty small. It was very crowded with people buying up as many Hostess products as possible before the store closed for good. Some shelves were already empty when I got there.

A Farewell to Hostess
A Farewell to Hostess

Hostess’ most famous brand is Twinkies. When I was at the store, the only Twinkes that were still in stock was a special edition Chocolate Creme Twinkies.

A Farewell to Hostess

As I looked at the inventory that was left, I found some surprises—I never knew that Hostess made cereal. (That’s what I get for not visiting the store more often when I had the chance.)

A Farewell to Hostess

After I purchased what I picked up, I put my bags in the car then I walked over to the 7-11 that is in the shopping center located next door to the Hostess Bakery Thriftshop. I found a few more Hostess products on that shelf but, alas, no Twinkies. I bought some other products that I didn’t find at the other store. I ultimately had three shopping bags full of Hostess products.

A Farewell to Hostess

This is the only healthy Hostess product that I purchased. It’s for its unsweetened Toasted Oats that’s basically Hostess’ version of Cheerios.

A Farewell to Hostess

The back of the ceral box had some basic facts about animals that kids (and animal lovers in general) would be interested in.

A Farewell to Hostess

Since I didn’t find the regular Twinkies, I went ahead and purchased a box of the Chocolate Creme Twinkies. It’ll be close enough to the Twinkies that I fondly remember eating.

A Farewell to Hostess

I purchased three different flavors of Hostess Donettes—chocolate frosted with a yellow cake, chocolate frosted with a devil’s food cake, and powdered sugar with a yellow cake.

A Farewell to Hostess

Rounding out my purchases are the following products: Suzy Q’s, Hostess Cup Cakes, Ho Hos, and Fudge Grahams Cookies.

A Farewell to Hostess
A Farewell to Hostess
A Farewell to Hostess
A Farewell to Hostess

Today after church I decided to make one more trip to the Hostess Bakery Thriftshop in Beltsville. I had The Smiths’ "How Soon is Now" playing in my car as I arrived to the store’s front parking lot. In a way the pulsing rhythms and the overall depressing tone of that song made for a fitting soundtrack because I learned from one of the employees that today is the last day that the store would be open to the general public.

Today the prices were slashed even further than yesterday.

A Farewell to Hostess

There were even more empty shelves than before.

A Farewell to Hostess

As I browsed the stuff that were left on the shelves, I found that this particular Hostess store sold products by other manufacturers such as the ones I photographed.

A Farewell to Hostess
A Farewell to Hostess
A Farewell to Hostess

This next photo shows how abrupt the closing of Hostess really was. The store had decorations up for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday this Thursday. Ironically the Hostess employees who are in the process of being laid-off will probably have a hard time finding much to be thankful for.

A Farewell to Hostess

I didn’t buy as much today as I did yesterday mainly because I had either already purchased enough of the products I wanted yesterday or because the products I was interested in (like the original Twinkies with the vanilla cream filling) were sold out. I purchased a couple more boxes of Hostess’ version of Cherrios cereal along with these two new Hostess products.

A Farewell to Hostess
A Farewell to Hostess

I plan on being very slow about consuming these products over the next few months in order to savor my last taste of these products and to prevent rapid weight gain. I hope I can discipline myself. I have to balance eating these products before they go stale with not eating them so fast that I gain enough weight to make my clothes a tight fit. I know that I need to make sure that I exercise as much as possible in order to burn some of these empty calories that are in Hostess products.

Unless a different company buys the Twinkies recipe and the right to manufacture them, if I have a desire for Twinkies in the future, I will have to closely watch this YouTube video of Jolene Sugarbaker demonstrating how to make Twinkies knock-offs.

In addition, I came across this site that has recipes where you can attempt to replicate 9 Hostess treats—Cup Cakes, Donettes, Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Fruit Pies, Sno Balls, Suzy Q, Chocodiles, and Ho Hos.

A Farewell to Hostess Part 2 (December 1, 2012)

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