In Maine, A School Preserves A 43-Year-Old Twinkie

 

BLUE HILL, Maine (WBZ NewsRadio) — It all began as a lesson on food additives and shelf life in chemistry teacher Roger Bennatti's class.

It led to the 43-year preservation of a Twinkie, which is still on display at George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill.

"I hope no one drops it, because that might be the end of it," Bennatti said. "It has gotten somewhat brittle in its old age, and I understand that completely!"

Bennatti told WBZ NewsRadio he remembers how it all started back in 1976, as he was teaching his class about preservatives.

"During that chemistry class, a student asked the question, how long would a Twinkie last? And my response was very simply, I have no idea, but let's do an experiment," Bennatti said.

A student bought a package of two Twinkies, and Bennatti ate one and put the other atop his chalkboard.

"It just sat there, pretty much forgotten, until I was retiring a few decades later," he said.

One of his students' father wrote a story about the Twinkie in the Bangor Daily News, which propelled it to fame. By the time of his retirement in 2004, he wanted to leave it to another science teacher, but said it needed to be in a secure location.

"That's why Libby Rosemeyer, who was one of my former students who did have her own private office because she was in administration at that time, was given the honored position as Keeper Of The Twinkie," he said. "Right now it's still in Libby's office, and her father, Jim Austin, did make a very nice glass display case for it."

Bennatti taught science at the school for 32 years, and his wife did the same for 34.

"Obviously, I'd like to bring attention to the science programs, and this is an ongoing science experiment," he said.

A spokesperson for Hostess, the company that makes Twinkies, was impressed by the story—but reminded readers that the current Twinkie has a shelf life of 65 days.

“The passion displayed by generations of Twinkies fans underscores the enduring and irresistible appeal of the gold standard for snack cakes," the spokesperson said. "That’s a shelf life any brand would envy!"

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