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Donuts – The New Black: A Dialogue on Donuts

Posted by CMH Gourmand on April 7, 2013


“__________ is the new Black”. Consider the phrase, if you will. You know bacon is/was the new black. We know this is true because it was on a T-Shirt (at Surly Girl Saloon, suggestion to place it on a t-shirt attributed to this writer) and because bacon has become ubiquitous to over the toppedness. Let me ask for your permission to have you to add another phrase to the lexicon and then strip it down and throw it away.

Donuts are the new black. Yes, yes they are. But like the color black, donuts are and were: timeless, never out of style, available and accessible to the common man and understood to joe average. Black and donuts were never new in our lifetime or those of our forefathers. They are always with us but sometimes we see them in a new light.

There has been an ongoing dialogue on donuts in this blog. I think I may have accidentally discovered a trend or renaissance or rebirth just before it hit its stride. Looking back on previous commentaries on donuts, I think my sentiments and mindset was established back in 2011. There is a small segment from an older post I have copied below for review.

There seem to be a lot of special memories connected with donuts as well as special connections to people and place. College and donuts seem to pair well. Late night dining and early morning road trips line up nicely with these doughy treats. There is always a certain camaraderie connected to donuts. Maybe because donut counters are the great equalizer of the masses just like diners are. Maybe it is because the lowly donut is cheap and fast and easy to share. There is a reason boxes of donuts pop up at any office. A box of donuts offers diversity and democracy to everyone – grab a donut and pass the box on. There seem to be a lot of reasons that donuts do us right.

Maybe the tightening of belts with a faltering economy or the death of the cupcake or just the desire to for a simpler treat is why we are starting to see a revisitation of the donut, but with a twist. Just like home-town gal Jeni, asked what if, and started to pair untraditional flavors with ice cream so too are we starting to see a new spin in donuts. I have been looking for like-minded donuteries in my travels and I have found quite a few, most notably Glazed in Charleston, South Carolina and Federal Donuts in Philadelphia (skip the intro if you click on the link). Now, if it was just what I have rambled about so far, I might be inclined to side with you and think this is just me being obsessive and siloing my personal quirks into a paradigm shift, but I am not the only one zeroing in on the rise of donuts. Saveur, the only food magazine I make an effort to purchase and read devoted a whole issue to donuts (see the photo at the top). The issue covered the best places, recipes, donut gear and etc. Jane and Michael Stern listed some of their favorite places and were kind enough to mention Bill’s Donuts. There are many great places in the nation and lot of history to support the donut as an American Icon. The rise of donuts was concurrent with the rise of fast food. While we did see some donut chains rise (Dunkin’ Donuts, Tim Horton’s, Krispy Kreme) and fall (Spudnuts), donuts have largely remained a local, regionalized food in mom and pop shops with a few signature items and recipes that distinguished them from others.

A person can buy a couple donuts on the run for less than a scoop of ice cream, or the cost of one cupcake or the price of a slice of cake. They can eat one on the go without slowing down their day. No fork of knife is needed. And what pairs best with the coffee culture that has perked up in the capital city. Another thing to love or hate about a donut….you need to eat them soon after you buy them. Sure, a few donuts hold up and hold out to the next day, but most are best within a few hours out of the fryer, so it you want the best, you need to eat it soon. Instant gratification….there could be worse things.

I have heard of several new and exciting donuts ventures coming our way. While we wait for those businesses to bloom, I will soon be profiling two donut pioneers who are out now, spreading the gospel of a good donut. I think it will be easy to bring you on as donut disciples. In the meantime, I have a question for you to ponder and answer (I asked this before but received no response). Is it donut or doughnut? Take a surf on the internet, you will see quite a bit on the subject. I picked my side long ago. I go with donut. Donut is more economical, the spelling saves space and ink. The ugh….do we really need that? Sure, dough vs, do is supported by the fact that dough is used in the construction of donuts, but doesn’t that seem a little high falutin, like saying hamburg steak. Again, I want to hear your opinion, but in my mind, a donut is more than the dough, it is the end result of what is added to it. So it deserves a different name, and a donut by any other name, is just not the same.

5 Responses to “Donuts – The New Black: A Dialogue on Donuts”

  1. Laura Herron said

    I agree–it’s definitely donut. After reading your last post and downing a couple of pints at World of Beer, I decided to stop by Buckeye Donuts. I normally never eat donuts because I can’t stop at one. I can now personally vouch for the maple cream stick with bacon, the coconut, the blueberry, and the chocolate covered custard-filled. I did not like the Buckeye because the peanut butter was a little thick for me. Please write a post about the merits of celery in the near future.

    • Laura…..impressive, damn impressive on your donut consumption. And I have to agree on the Buckeye donuts spin on the buckeye. What would prefer would be a chocolate cake donut with peanut butter glaze or vice versa with a few M&M’s and Reese’s Pieces dropped on top.

      As for celery – using it as a delivery device for peanut butter and as an ingredient in Giardiniera is merit enough.

  2. Norman said

    Long ago as an undergraduate at U.Va, on the way back from yet another road trip to a local women’s college we would enter Charlottesville at night (actually very early the next day) and have a craving for something to eat before dozing off for a few too few hours of sleep before class. Whatever we had to eat it always ended with the same thing. A glazed donut, grilled to a thin, hot shape on a greasy flattop and with vanilla ice cream plopped on top. Most of the time we had a double. As the ice cream melted over the hot gooey goodness of the donut we would dive in and nothing ended the evening better. Whens someone starts serving these again I will know the donut has made it all the way back.

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