I love sweet things. I mean by that I have a sweet tooth. I love women too, but in this instance I am talking about food. Above all else, I love food. My girth proves it, though I am presently on a lose weight regime that does not include many sweet things. A lot of men my age understand what I’m talking about. Diabetes and other related diseases are quite common among my generation. Much of it has to do with poor eating habits. By that I mean everything tasting good is bad for you and everything tasting like straw is good for you. So, we ought to be eating the tasteless stuff to live longer or at least feel better.
I know that other foods, the non-sugar variety and the nutritional ones can taste pretty good. Some are quite excellent. I dabbled in Vegetarianism for a while and still return to it from time to time. Last summer I went completely Vegan (detest that term) and lost weight and felt great. But living an alternate lifestyle, especially where food is concerned, can be very expensive and time-consuming in preparation. And who among us has a food Dehydrator I ask you? Who among us can afford such a luxury? So some people (not I, of course) end up turning to the cheaper alternatives….like donuts.
Not only donuts mind you, spelled doughnuts here (North Americans are lazy spellers). But in the UK this is National Doughnut Week. The campaign raises money for the Children’s Trust, a charity for kids with brain injuries and their families. It was started 30 years ago. National Doughnut Day was begun in 1991 by baker Christopher Freeman in support of the Children’s Fund. Since then, the campaign has raised nearly £800,000 and sold somewhere in the vicinity of 14 million donuts (Doughnuts) in the UK.
Now, I hear your brains working overtime at this point. Where do doughnuts come from originally? Thought you’d ask. They’ve been around for a long time, since ancient Roman and Greek times. They looked a little different back then….yeast dough fried into balls and coated with something sweet or filled with something else, anything really. The fried balls were introduced to England in the 1400s and were often filled with fruit and sprinkled with sugar to taste sweeter. Just shows you most people have a sweet tooth. The fried dough is never enough on its own. They were known then as deep-fried cakes.
In 2013, new information about the doughnut came to light. An American Dutchman named Captain Hanson Gregory had claimed to have invented it aboard ship and taken the concept to America. That was in the mid 1800s. But he may have been the first to create the holes (more on that soon). What we now think we know is the modern doughnut was created by Baroness Elizabeth Dimsdale (wife of Baron Thomas Dimsdale the smallpox pioneer) at her home, Cowbridge House in Hertfordshire between 1800 and 1810. Her recipe was found in a recipe book that gave the date as 1800. The ingredients she used were sugar, eggs, nutmeg, butter and yeast. The dough mix was cut into nuts, fried in hog’s lard and then put by the fire to rise. Yummy. I think. Rule Britannia.
The holes came from necessity. When egg yolks were added to the mix, they fried from the outside inward. By the time the frying process reached the middle, the outside was done, leaving the centre raw. Best way to fix the problem was to eliminate the centre. Cut it out et voila, donuts with holes. Not all donuts have holes, but those are the most popular, though I do love my Boston Cream donuts at Tim Hortons in Canada (hole less). Timmy’s (as it is known affectionately by Canadians), like Dunkin’ Donuts in America, fry the centres and sell them as little round balls (Timbits at Tim Hortons and Munchkins at the American one). Mahvelous dahling.
I’m not one to follow special days usually. Every day and every week is another national this or that day or week. I’m seriously considering starting a National Absolutely Nothing Going On Week to counter all the special days. But I happened to be reading the News Shopper the other day. That’s a free local paper delivered to my door once a week. You can tell by its name that it has a lot to do with selling stuff….everything from houses and cars to rubbish (garbage) receptacles and eyeglasses. Pages of adverts, job postings and local events announcements. It has a brief sports section at the back, never good news about local teams, and a couple of pages for entertainment, mostly gossip. The news articles, such as they are, mostly contain sensational stories (like all newspapers) about anti-social behaviour in Thamesmead or muggings in various parts of Bexley Borough and this or that thug sentenced for fraud, GBH (Grievous Bodily Harm) and even murder. “Isn’t there any good news?” I yelled (to myself).
There, on page 4, top right, was a very tiny article about a local baker, one Steve Balfour who also owns the shop. He was selling donuts and donating 10p (8cents Canadian) per donut to the Children’s fund. When interviewed he said, “Anything that helps children is important.” Yes indeed. No one can argue with that. He added that this is something he has wanted to do for a long time and finally got around to it. Procrastinaters take note. But good on you, Steve. You finally did it. His establishment is called The Bakery (sexy) and is on Pickford Lane in Bexleyheath (next door to Welling).
That in itself may not be interesting to you the reader except that The Bakery is on the way to the train station where I walk my best friend when she goes to work in the city. I go right by it on the way there and back, twice a day. I am not allowed to go in because I need to lose the girth I carry from storing up all that fat over the winter (and especially at Christmas time). My best friend worries about my health, so I hear and obey when she says, “No sweets!”. But this was a one-off, a special day and for the children. I picked up my friend from the station as usual (we always walk the 15 minutes back to my place), but told her about it being National Doughnut Week and we ought to at least do our bit for the kids. How could she resist. I got a chocolate one with a hole and my best friend got a jam filled doughnut. Never tasted better.
Carrots and celery tomorrow though.