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Y’all. Y’all? Y’all… I have made a tremendous mistake. My evening involves an error in judgment that I will hold in my psyche for years. I cannot overestimate just how much regret I carry in my heart on this night, and I hope that you, dear reader, do not judge me too harshly for this.
I thought about Little Debbies and yet do not have one nearby.
Maybe you’re skinny and don’t understand the sort of feeling I’m feeling. I have quit cigarettes before, and the craving does not compare to the dire, severe need for an oatmeal cream pie right now. My soul feels sad. But for you, I will press on the best that I can.
This summary of the company’s history from “It’s a Southern Thing” puts it better than I can right now, in the midst of my Christmas tree cake deficit:
“The story of Little Debbie begins with O.D. McKee; a Chattanooga, Tennessee; business man who began selling 5-cent homemade snack cakes during the Great Depression. Along with his wife, Ruth, McKee purchased a bakery, in the back of which the young family would live.
“The company wouldn’t become truly profitable until 1960, however, when the McKees devised a line of packaged cakes, naming them after their 4-year-old granddaughter, Debbie.
“Debbie’s image, as it famously appears on the product packaging, is inspired by a real-life photo of the young girl in her play clothes. Miraculously, her parents, Ellsworth and Sharon McKee, weren’t privy to their daughter’s involvement as the namesake of the food brand, until production began on the popular treats.
“The iconic Oatmeal Cream Pie was the first snack the McKees rolled out of the brand, at an original market price of 49 cents per carton. The innovative product was the first of its kind, as a carton of desserts with individually packed units inside. In the first 10 months of the cake’s production, over 14 million cartons were reportedly sold. Within four years, there were 13 more types of cakes added to the Little Debbie lineup.
“Today, Little Debbie cakes are available in all U.S. states, Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, as well as being a staple on U.S. military bases throughout the world.”
There are a few other things of note about this company, though. For example, they were the first snack cake company to sell a family pack – a box full of the prepackaged snack cakes for keeping in the home. Can you imagine not being able to buy twelve of these at a time? I can’t.
Side note – when did Little Debbies beat out Moon Pies as the Southern sweet snack? I mean, we all grew up recognizing the superiority of RC Cola and Moon Pies, didn’t we? Right? Right? Neither are as widely available anymore, especially the vanilla Moon Pie, which is in my opinion far superior.
Anyway. Whew. This is an intense sugar craving and I’m struggling. Unspoken prayer request, please.
Focusing in. Alright. So, another interesting thing about Little Debbie, or more specifically the parent company Mckee Foods – they adhere strictly to Seventh Day Adventist beliefs, and it impacts their daily business. See, they believe that the Sabbath is to be very strictly observed from Friday night to Saturday night. Which is fine, of course. No skin off my back. But pay closer attention – it’s not often that you see advertisements for Little Debbie.
Of course, part of this is because they don’t need it. But secondly, they do not permit any advertising for any McKee Foods’ brands to run during the Sabbath. Like, at all. If a NASCAR race is happening during this time and one of the cars has a Little Debbie logo, then they actually have to cover that logo.
I can’t fault them for sticking to their guns. It got them this far, didn’t it?
Side note, do you think they could open like, a Debbie exchange clinic? Like you bring in your empty Little Debbie wrappers and a nutritionist could sit there and quietly judge you while you crush four Zebra Cakes? Just an idea.