Have you ever had food that becomes a favorite for the role it has played in your memories? I am pretty sure that is the relationship I have with Zingers. With the bankruptcy and possible end of Hostess last year, I was more frightened by the prospect of a world without Zingers, than I was anything else. It is kind of funny to have such an attachment to a food, but Zingers mean a lot to me. With the comeback of Hostess, I have been waiting anxiously for the return of my beloved Zingers. My favorite are the raspberry with the coconut. I am sure you are wondering if I have taken my medication today, but I promise I am going to explain my love for Zingers.
In the summer of 1994 I left my home for basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Everything that you do is control. They tell you when to eat, when to sleep, and even when to go to the bathroom. No where is the control more distressing than in the realm of diet. There were no sodas, cakes, or candy while you are in basic training. I remember there was a rotating display case full of deserts in the chow hall. It was right at the front of the chow line. I had to walk past it everyday. Then I would grab my plate of food. Which at Leonard Wood always had chili in some form. The deserts were strategically placed to torture privates. I am sure of that.
I am not sure if everyone in basic training is particularly religious. I do know that in my company, everyone went to church on Sunday. Sadly, it was not necessarily for the message. The Shopette was on the way back from Church. After the first couple weeks, we were allowed to go to Church on our own. There was a bunch of vending machines behind the Shopette, that were never passed up on the way back to the barracks. I am certain that many of us spent the rest of the afternoon ill from over indulgence. Sneaking those sweets every Sunday seemed to make the rest of the week a little more bearable.
Eventually, we started to train out at the ranges, and were not able to make it back for our lunch meal. This was when we were first exposed to the joys of field chow. It was basically the same meal that we would have had in the chow hall (Chili with something), but when we went to the field it always included Zingers! We had been denied any type of sweet for weeks, and now we were allowed to have Zingers. Those we quite possibly the greatest Zingers in the history of the world. A Zinger will never taste as sweet as then. I started to look forward to field chow, and my Drill Sargent sanctioned Zingers. Sometime the simplest things can bring a smile to our faces.
Probably the funniest memory from basic training involved those Zingers. According to military custom, Sargents always eat after their soldiers. The one day we were in the field eating lunch. All of the privates had been served and the Drill Sargent went through to get their lunch. I was sitting and eating my lunch, when one of the Drill Sargent's started yelling. Apparently, when the privates had gone through the line, someone had taken 2 packs of Zingers. That Drill Sargent was furious. He started ranting and raving. Someone had to come forward and confess to eating his Zingers. I would not have wanted to be the culprit. Eventually, some sheepish private stepped forward and confessed. The Drill Sargent gave him a piece of his mind. That private was then allowed to have a little one on one physical training. I am certain that he burned off each and every one of those extra calories from the stolen Zingers. I am sure in the future he will remember to never get between a man and his Zingers.