Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Hole Truth: A History of the Doughnut

Author Michael Krondl talks doughnuts

Life is Like a Doughnut

The humble doughnut... It's often overlooked in favor of glitzier treats (cupcakes, eclairs, and my favorite - mille-feuille AKA the Napoleon.) Thankfully one man refuses to settle for second best... Author, cooking instructor and former chef Michael Krondl, who was at the S. Dillon Ripley Center yesterday for The Hole Truth: A History of the Doughnut, a lecture on... you guessed it, doughnuts.

Judging by an almost full house, Krondl has his fair share of supporters. It was the day after National Doughnut Day - a fact Krondl didn't let slip by, "I too want to wish you a belated Happy Doughnut Day." Sponsored by the Smithsonian Associates, Krondl conducted a lecture on the history of doughnuts, followed by a book signing and doughnut giveaway (crème brûlée & vanilla glazed) courtesy of Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken.

Free doughnuts, courtesy of Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

Krondl's book The Donut: History, Recipes and Lore from Boston to Berlin was released earlier this week and covers the ABC's of doughnuts from the oldest known recipe (Hertfordshire cakes, circa 1750) to its huge impact on American soldiers in both World Wars. In between there were mentions of Homer Simpson and global variations with a nod to the doughnut's universal awesomeness, "They're round, yummy, indulgent and in certain quarters - obscene." This guy really understands doughnuts.

Book signing

"Doughnuts are a microcosm of American food culture," comments Krondl, and I tend to agree with him. Almost everyone seems to have their own special doughnut memory (mine is sharing Morton's frozen jelly doughnuts on our rooftop with my Mom, as a kid.) And even if it means paying too much for a doughnut, Krondl reminds us, "You're paying for love and deliciousness." Amen to that!

Astro Doughnuts' Vanilla Glazed

As for yesterday's sample... Astro's Vanilla Glazed: Great icing with a flavorful cake that screamed fresh. It wasn't too doughy, but still hearty enough to fill you... after three or four (one or two for normal people.) $2.25 is a bit "hard to swallow" for an everyday treat, but every now and then? Why not.