Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Mmmm.... donuts

I've got a soft spot for donuts. It's actually kind of a big soft spot, it's my belly. And you wonder why I lost the "Fatty Bowl" competition. sigh...

Anyway, I see donuts as yet another indication that our country is going down the shitter.

Walk into any of your standard grocery stores. Take a look at their donut selection. They've got the pre-packaged, month old, Hostess donuts (twinkies, ding-dongs, etc.), or their own home-grown donuts.

Now, the Hostess donuts are just very plastic. The chocolate icing has the flavor and mouth-feel of thick saran wrap. But at least they keep well. And I've got to give it to them, Hostess at least makes their food products look like actual donuts. The donuts are round, everything is uniformly shaped, it's what you'd expect to find. Of course they taste like cat poop.

On the other hand, you have donuts at big stores like Safeway and Fred Meyer that make their own donuts. Their cake donuts are usually relatively round, but they taste like the baker fried the dough in a vat of petroleum-based oil. But the biggest disgrace is their other donuts, the apple fritters, maple bars, old-fashioned, and crullers. I don't even know where to begin!

All of them are covered in a thick, grainy sugar icing that even Tammy Fae would have trouble handling. The apple fritters have no apple at all, just enough cinnamon to give the illusion they taste different than the standard donut. The cinnamon swirl has the same amount of cinnamon as the apple fritter, only you know it's a cinnamon swirl because the brown dye (dirt?) they roll into the cinnamon swirl is shaped like a spiral (usually). It tastes no different than the apple fritter.

But the biggest crock is the maple bar! The maple bars have enough fake maple flavoring to choke a horse, the icing weighs as much as the dough used to make the "bar" portion. But now they cannot even make the bar look like a bar. The shape closely resembles a large turd that's been stepped on by an elephant. It is in no way symmetrical, and only resembles the "bar" shape in that it's vaguely longer in one dimension than the other.

The "bakers" at Safeway and Freddies probably don't get paid much, but they could at least take some pride in what they produce.

Of course the newcomer to the world of donuts is Krispy Kreme. Sure, they've been "around" since 1937, but only recently have they made it big. They do produce a very pretty product, and their Original Glazed donut is pretty good when it is served hot. But their other donut varieties aren't anything really special, and they tend to use a bit too much glazing. I will give you the fact that their donuts are an order of magnitude better than Safeway's and FredMeyer's.

To get a truly remarkable donut, you need to find a good mom and pop place. I know of two places, one in Portland: Annie's Donut Shop, 3449 NE 72nd And one in Corvallis: Gramma Dama's Donuts, 2215 NW 9th.

Back to the original premise: donuts being an indicator of what's wrong with this country. Our focus is off. An indicator of success in the US is how much bling bling you've got - similar to the amount of sugar icing on a donut. Just because a little is nice, doesn't mean you're better off with a bunch of gold teeth.

So pay some respect to the little people, buy a donut from a local shop.

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