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Donuts: An American Passion

Donuts: An American PassionUnless I’m standing in a donut shop staring into a pastry case, I don’t think all that much about donuts. But some people do. Donuts are not just a brief pitstop of the mind, but a destination. The analogy might seem a bit silly, but companies like Dunkin’ Donuts are extremely popular for a reason and that is because people love their donuts. Donuts: An American Passion is a book that is all about the love of donuts. It’s not a cookbook, although it does contain several donut recipes. It’s a narrative that discusses the history of the public interest in donuts.

This may seem like an unusual topic for a book at first. Why not write about the straight history of the pastry? A straight history book would certainly be appealing to donut lovers. I think that the reason is in the fact that the love of donuts is a kind of social phenomenon, and sociological trends and interests tend to have a much bigger audience – not just those who obsess over the best donuts. But more to the point, the topic is just plain fun to read about! From stories about how donuts were marketed as a good energy source (and therefore, a health food) in the 1940s, to tales of the post-Krispy Kreme backlash of artisan donut makers, it’s amazing to hear all the different trends that come and go that are all based around one little food.

This is a quick read, as the book is divided up into short chapters with bits of actual history, personal stories of and interviews with donut entrepreneurs and, of course, notes about tasting different donuts from all over the country.It will probably make you want a donut by the time you finish it, and it just might make you wonder why you want that donut, too.

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  • Kelly
    October 12, 2009

    I’m usually in the same boat as you when it comes to donuts, except apple cider donuts. Those I absolutely love.

  • Julia
    October 12, 2009

    During a recent remodel of our house, we found an old newspaper from the ’40s hidden in the wall. I had some of the neighborhood kids cut out the things that caught their eye and made a collage out of it. My favorite image is an advertisement for “Orange-Flavored Doughnuts–just in time for Halloween”. The ad proudly (and a little creepily) announces that the donuts were “So Digestible a Child Can Eat Them!”

  • Nicole
    October 12, 2009

    Julia – That is hilarious!

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