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Mike Redmond Column

Please refer to the Mike Redmond Column main page for columns published in other issues.
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 Doughnuts Dunk Perfectly Into Fall

Maybe it’s the time of year. Maybe it’s because they’re forbidden. Maybe I simply don’t have anything better to do with my time. But lately I have been obsessed with …


Also known as Donuts, Do-Nuts, Sinkers, Hockey Pucks and Bagels for Gentiles.

I think this is mostly a seasonal obsession. After all, it is autumn, and is there any treat more autumnal than cider and doughnuts? You can make a meal of them if you add a side of candy corn (the plate should always include a vegetable.)

Cider and doughnuts were the main event as most of the Nice Kid Parties of my teen years. You know, the kids who got straight A’s and belonged to the youth service clubs and organized nifty teen wing-dings with fun stuff like bobbing for apples and listening to Peter Paul and Mary records.

(Nice kids were not to be confused with preachers’ kids, whose parties usually involved a lot of Grand Funk Railroad and everyone getting blasted on Budweiser and Boone’s Farm. No doughnuts.)

Anyway, doughnuts have been much on my mind lately. I might also attribute this to my heritage, which includes some Mennonite roots on my mother’s side. This is no big deal. In LaGrange County, where I’m from, it’s the oddball who doesn’t have a few Anabaptists perched in the family tree.

Anyway, despite the common belief that the doughnut was invented by Maine sea captain Hansen Gregory invented the doughnut by poking a fried cake onto one of the handles on his ship’s wheel, the TV expert Alton Brown once said that doughnuts are more likely the invention of the Pennsylvania Dutch (see above under: Anabaptists) who came to this country seeking religious freedom, with nothing more than the beards on their chins, the bonnets on their heads and boxes of dessert recipes.

Either way, the doughnut has since evolved into a dizzying number of variants and offshoots, from jelly-filled to apple-spiced. These can be divided, however, into two main groups – yeast or cake.

Indianapolis, by all accounts, seems to be a yeast-doughnut city. I base this on years of experience watching people inhale them at various workplaces. I like them too, even if they are basically Wonder Bread with a glaze. And I do not use that phrase loosely. I once knew a man in Columbus, Indiana whose favorite sandwich was bologna between two yeast doughnuts.

I am fond of the cake doughnut, and in that category I feel the plainer the better. I don’t need frosting and sprinkles or even a glaze on mine. I like a plain cake doughnut, slightly sweet without being cloying, with just a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg, perfect for dunking into a cup of black coffee.

Yes. I admit it. I dunk.

Or I would, were I allowed to eat doughnuts. They are on the “no” list along with just about everything else I like. As for the yes list … let’s just say that chicken and spinach lose their appeal next to a box of plain cake doughnuts from Long’s Bakery.

Which, I have decided, is where I am headed. I’m only human, and autumn comes but once a year. Save me some cider and thank my ancestors.




© 2010 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.