The Curious Case of the Lemon Zingers
About ten years ago I was working in Lafayette, Indiana. It was about a two hour ride from Lafayette to my parents home in suburban Chicago. Many times when I'd head home I'd get a big pop and a pack of Zingers to snack on as I drove home for a visit. I'd always look for Lemon Zingers but never found them. I'd always find the Iced Vanilla ones and I began to wonder did Lemon Zingers ever exist? Or was I imagining it? This was back in the early days of blogging so I asked the question, "Did Lemon Zingers ever exist?" It's a question I'm still asking myself today.
Some friends of mine helped me on my quest to find an answer. Catherine McClory Diedrich, a college friend put her Library Science degree to good use and actually found a sku number, or bar code, for Lemon Zingers. Shelby Beeler, who used to work in radio with me, actually wrote Hostess asking about Lemon Zingers. Sadly their response indicated Lemon Zingers never existed. So I was left with no actual definitive answer.
Of course I used the internet ten years ago to do my research and I didn't find much to help me to an answer. I'm not sure it's any less murkier these days. The answer may be as hard to find as figuring out just how many licks it actually takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.
According to Wikipedia, The Dolly Madison and Hostess brands have been owned by many different entities over the years, and it's quite possible IF lemon flavored Zingers were ever made, that piece of institutional memory has been lost over the years. Hence why my friend Catherine found a sku for Lemon Zingers, and Shelby was told by Hostess they never existed.
A new search found a couple of things. April McLendon wrote a Facebook post on the Hostess Facebook page in 2017 asking Hostess to bring back Lemon Zingers. Hostess responded they were working on bring back their "classic products." A few other folks concurred with April's suggestion although Hostess never chimed in again. Down the post there was even some discussion whether Lemon Zingers ever existed. Isaiah Merritt even mentions that Hostess says "they didn't ever make lemon ones."
FirstWeFeast.com published an article called "The Top 10 Hostess Snacks of All Time, Ranked". A blurb describing Zingers that came up in my search says, "Why we love it: While Zingers technically come in three flavors (
My search also indicated Vanilla Zingers have lemon oil as one of the ingredients. You can see the ingredients list on nutritionix.com Is it possible the lemon oil gave Vanilla Zingers a little bit of lemon flavor? Maybe?
For years, Wikipedia says, the company that made Hostess and Dolly Madison brands were based in Kansas City on Armour Boulevard. So perhaps one of you reading this had a relative or a friend of the family that worked for that company and might be able shed some light on the curious case of the Lemon Zingers. If you know anything post a comment below or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.