The Hole Picture

Yesterday I didn’t feel good. Nothing serious, I’m happy to say. But I didn’t make it out of bed most of the day. So I am presenting to you an oldie but goodie.

I recently read an article someone had posted on Facebook about the so-called Best Doughnuts in the city in which the person lived. Being the daughter and the sister of men who have made literally thousands and thousands of doughnuts between the two of them – and a doughnut-lover of the first degree myself – I was very interested to see just what sorts of doughnuts made the top 10 list.

After about the third doughnut on the list that purported to be a “healthier alternative” by being baked rather than fried, I abandoned ship. Donuts aren’t baked. Donuts are fried. Doughnuts, my friends, are not meant to be healthy. You want healthy, have a whole-grain bagel or a smoothie made with spinach and acai. My dad was rolling in his grave.

When we were in Italy back in 2008, we spent two weeks living in an apartment in Rome. Right across the street was a restaurant that opened in the morning and served food all day. Italians aren’t much for breakfast. They might have a doppio espresso or a cappuccino and something sweet if they have anything. Bill – a true-blue doughnut lover himself – had read that the Italian word for doughnut was bomboloni. So he walked into the restaurant the first morning, pointed to the doughnuts sitting on the counter, and confidently asked for two bomboloni.  The man working the counter literally laughed out loud.

“No bomboloni,” he said, still snickering. “Ciambelle.”

Whatevah, Bill thought.

But having grown up around doughnuts, I knew why the man laughed. Bomboloni are filled doughnuts, what we might call bismarks. Ciambelle are the doughnuts with which many of us are most familiar – round with a hole in the middle, generally covered in glaze. It would be like going into a doughnut shop, pointing to a glazed doughnut and asking for one of those bismarks. A subtle difference, but a difference nonetheless. Those particular doughnuts – or ciambelle – were thickly covered in granulated sugar and sat on top of about a half-inch of additional sugar. They were delicious. I had one daily for the whole time we were in Rome. Bill would wash his hands after eating one. I licked my fingers. I wish I had one right now.

And they were fried, not baked. Because doughnuts are fried, no matter what country.

My brother, who has been in a bakery nearly every day of his life and KNOWS HIS DOUGHNUTS, told me this when I asked him what, in his opinion, constitutes a good doughnut: When I am testing doughnuts, I eat them with no glaze and cooled off. Because as dad said, you can put glaze on a hot pile of s**t and it would taste good. Not greasy and light is good.

Dave’s aforementioned quote from my dad is straight from the horse’s mouth, of course, curse word and all. My dad had a way with words. But it is how he justified people’s love for Krispie Kreme doughnuts. As you can tell, he wasn’t a Krispie Kreme fan, nor is my brother. I tend to agree. They’re good when they’re hot. When they’re cool, they’re ordinary.

By the way, we Gloors are all rather an opinionated bunch when it comes to bakery items, and to baking itself. One of my pet peeves when watching cooking shows is when the cheerful chef tells the viewer to put your cake in the oven and COOK IT for 40 minutes. Every time I hear that – EVERY SINGLE TIME – I say through gritted teeth, “Bake it, not cook it.” But I recently was with my brother when someone talked about cooking something in the oven, and I was pleased when I heard him say, “Bake in the oven, not cook.” There’s right and wrong, people.

But I digress.

I wrote a blog post not that long ago about doughnuts, because apparently I’m obsessed with them. Fried doughnuts, not baked. It was after I visited Voodoo Doughnuts, a doughnut shop that originated in the northwest and has since expanded to other states. Its popularity isn’t based on the doughnuts being inexpensive, as they ran in the neighborhood of $15 a dozen.

But even though in my opinion doughnuts are not supposed to look like this…..

….at least they were fried. See above. Have I mentioned that doughnuts are not health food?

One last thing I learned from my brother yesterday about doughnuts: one sign of a good doughnut apparently is if it has a clear skunkline. What is that, you may ask? I myself didn’t know until yesterday. The skunkline is the white line that goes around a nicely fried doughnut. Here are examples of doughnuts perfectly fried by my brother……

Having wasted over 800 words on the topic of doughnuts, I will leave you with this so that you can know that our love for doughnuts runs in our family, as Dagny demonstrates…..

 

This post linked to the GRAND Social

 

Memorial Day Memories

Well, yesterday was Memorial Day. Kick off to summer. However, tick tock, tick tock. Countdown to Fourth of July, when summer’s half over. That is how my mother would have looked at the day. I come by my Glass-Half-Empty mentality honestly. To be fair, she wasn’t negative about all things. But when it came to summertime, she simply thought it went by too quickly.

Any more, I think all seasons of the year go by quickly. Time flies even faster as you get older.

Enjoy every day. And I have to tell you that we did, indeed, enjoy our Sunday celebration. The springtime weather has been pretty unpredictable so far, at least in my Glass-Half-Empty mind. A lot of rain (which Glass-Half-Full people would say is good for the crops), and temperatures chilly enough that my heat was still going on in the morning. Yesterday I just turned it off, thereby taking away our thermostat’s option of turning on the heat. It’s almost June, for heaven’s sake. If our thermostat doesn’t like it, it can take it up with Google Home.

But Sunday’s weather was simply beautiful. The sky was blue all day long with not a raincloud in sight. The temperature was a perfect 70 or so. Jen arrived on our doorstep around 10 and she and I made our quick trip to Fort Logan National Cemetery and were home before noon. A short time later, Kaiya, Mylee, and Cole showed up with big smiles on their faces, and their daddy had an even bigger smile because he got a few hours of time to himself. The kids fully intended to spend the day with Play Doh. Because, as you recall, they do love Play Doh…..

Instead, I made lunch for them and they ate it outside, and that’s pretty much where they spent the rest of the day – outside. They caught roly poly bugs, they built a village in the sandbox, they spruced up Papa’s horseshoe pit (if you call adding sand to the pit sprucing it up, and by the way, don’t tell Papa).

And they ate watermelon. And then ate more watermelon. At one point, Jen said she doesn’t think she’s ever seen a single human eat as much watermelon as each of them ate. Kaiya informed me well into her fourth or fifth slice that the first bite of the point of the watermelon slice is the best, because it’s sweeter than the rest. I’m pretty sure there is no science to back that up, but she would not be dissuaded.

While my ribs were roasting in the oven, I made ceviche. I followed my nephew Erik’s recipe in which I cut up tilapia into cubes, added red onion, cilantro, jalapeno, and salt and pepper. I then squeezed somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 or 15 limes over the whole dish…..

…..and let it cook….

It was delicious….

When growing up, Mom always made baked beans for any summer gathering. At some point, she gave the assignment to me. In hindsight, I recognize that she was very smart, because she always told me (probably making sure to whisper so that no one else heard) that I made the best baked beans and that’s why she had me make them. Every single time. Given that her beans recipe consisted of a couple of cans of pork and beans, some ketchup, some mustard, some brown sugar, and some worcestershire sauce, I’m pretty sure a 5-year-old could have made them. Nevertheless, I proudly made the beans then, and I proudly made them Sunday to accompany my ribs. No recipe needed.

And, by the way, Kaiya likes a little bit of pie with her whipped cream….

Late in the day, Allen and Emma stopped by to say hi, and to bring a dozen Voodoo Donuts….

At the end of the day, before the kids headed home, we put them in the bathtub to clean up before they put on their pajamas. As you can see, they were just a bit dirty…..

Just a sign of a really good day.

The Hole Picture

I recently read an article someone had posted on Facebook about the so-called Best Doughnuts in the city in which the person lived. Being the daughter and the sister of men who have made literally thousands and thousands of doughnuts between the two of them – and a doughnut-lover of the first degree myself – I was very interested to see just what sorts of doughnuts made the top 10 list.

After about the third doughnut on the list that purported to be a “healthier alternative” by being baked rather than fried, I abandoned ship. Donuts aren’t baked. Donuts are fried. Doughnuts, my friends, are not meant to be healthy. You want healthy, have a whole-grain bagel or a smoothie made with spinach and acai. My dad was rolling in his grave.

When we were in Italy back in 2008, we spent two weeks living in an apartment in Rome. Right across the street was a restaurant that opened in the morning and served food all day. Italians aren’t much for breakfast. They might have a doppio espresso or a cappuccino and something sweet if they have anything. Bill – a true-blue doughnut lover himself – had read that the Italian word for doughnut was bomboloni. So he walked into the restaurant the first morning, pointed to the doughnuts sitting on the counter, and confidently asked for two bomboloni.  The man working the counter literally laughed out loud.

“No bomboloni,” he said, still snickering. “Ciambelle.”

Whatevah, Bill thought.

But having grown up around doughnuts, I knew why the man laughed. Bomboloni are filled doughnuts, what we might call bismarks. Ciambelle are the doughnuts with which many of us are most familiar – round with a hole in the middle, generally covered in glaze. It would be like going into a doughnut shop, pointing to a glazed doughnut and asking for one of those bismarks. A subtle difference, but a difference nonetheless. Those particular doughnuts – or ciambelle – were thickly covered in granulated sugar and sat on top of about a half-inch of additional sugar. They were delicious. I had one daily for the whole time we were in Rome. Bill would wash his hands after eating one. I licked my fingers. I wish I had one right now.

And they were fried, not baked. Because doughnuts are fried, no matter what country.

My brother, who has been in a bakery nearly every day of his life and KNOWS HIS DOUGHNUTS, told me this when I asked him what, in his opinion, constitutes a good doughnut: When I am testing doughnuts, I eat them with no glaze and cooled off. Because as dad said, you can put glaze on a hot pile of s**t and it would taste good. Not greasy and light is good.

Dave’s aforementioned quote from my dad is straight from the horse’s mouth, of course, curse word and all. My dad had a way with words. But it is how he justified people’s love for Krispie Kreme doughnuts. As you can tell, he wasn’t a Krispie Kreme fan, nor is my brother. I tend to agree. They’re good when they’re hot. When they’re cool, they’re ordinary.

By the way, we Gloors are all rather an opinionated bunch when it comes to bakery items, and to baking itself. One of my pet peeves when watching cooking shows is when the cheerful chef tells the viewer to put your cake in the oven and COOK IT for 40 minutes. Every time I hear that – EVERY SINGLE TIME – I say through gritted teeth, “Bake it, not cook it.” But I recently was with my brother when someone talked about cooking something in the oven, and I was pleased when I heard him say, “Bake in the oven, not cook.” There’s right and wrong, people.

But I digress.

I wrote a blog post not that long ago about doughnuts, because apparently I’m obsessed with them. Fried doughnuts, not baked. It was after I visited Voodoo Doughnuts, a doughnut shop that originated in the northwest and has since expanded to other states. Its popularity isn’t based on the doughnuts being inexpensive, as they ran in the neighborhood of $15 a dozen.

But even though in my opinion doughnuts are not supposed to look like this…..

….at least they were fried. See above. Have I mentioned that doughnuts are not health food?

One last thing I learned from my brother yesterday about doughnuts: one sign of a good doughnut apparently is if it has a clear skunkline. What is that, you may ask? I myself didn’t know until yesterday. The skunkline is the white line that goes around a nicely fried doughnut. Here are examples of doughnuts perfectly fried by my brother……

Having wasted over 800 words on the topic of doughnuts, I will leave you with this so that you can know that our love for doughnuts runs in our family, as Dagny demonstrates…..

 

This post linked to the GRAND Social

 

Fried Goodness

voo-doo-donut-boxI started working at my dad’s bakery when I was 14 years old. I reckon that’s about the same age as my siblings, all of whom worked for Dad for varying number of years. My brother will argue that he worked for Dad (unpaid) from the time he was 2. That in fact may be true. He was the only boy, after all, and so destined to be a baker, at least in my Dad’s eyes. Which, I might add, became true.

All this is to say that when I was 14 years old (hmmmm, somewhere in the neighborhood of 1967 or 1968), bread was 29 cents a loaf. But more to the point of this blog post, doughnuts (or D-O-N-U-T-S as they are now commonly spelled) were 65 cents a dozen. A DOZEN. The very best glazed doughnuts that you can imagine. Doughnuts that were so light they practically floated in the air according to one of my cousins who was well acquainted with the bakery.

I am quite familiar with inflation. Store-bought bread now costs somewhere between 3 and 4 dollars a loaf, and it isn’t even half as good as that my father made. But I also probably earned something like a buck fifty an hour. It’s called inflation, and it’s inevitable.

Still, it didn’t stop me from being shocked recently when I purchased doughnuts to treat a friend of mine. I had offered to bring breakfast or lunch to her house. She is going through chemotherapy, and so when she told me the one thing that sounded good was doughnuts, well, I was more than happy to comply. First (and I assure you, foremost) because I want to be a good friend, but second, because I LOVE DOUGHNUTS.

I always have; I always will. They are flat-out delicious.

Breakfast treats are cyclical. I remember when the whole bagel thing became, well, a thing. Bagel shops were popping up all over the place. Bagels are okay. In fact, I like a bagel about as much as I like any breakfast food. (Except now with my low-fiber diet, I can’t eat my favorite which is an Everything bagel. But I substitute Asiago, and it’s nearly as good.)

Then we went through a doughnut phase. Krispie Kremes were built all over Denver. There were lines like at an Adele concert to purchase these sweet treats at all hours of the day and night. After a couple of years, you could hear the sound of crickets chirping at the doughnut shops, and they began to close down. My dad would have said (and my brother would concur), “Good riddance to bad doughnuts.” He didn’t think much of Krispie Kreme doughnuts, and I admit that, while there’s nothing quite as good as a warm Krispie Kreme glazed doughnut, after they have cooled off five minutes later, they’re just ordinary. Haters, don’t hate.

But back to my most recent doughnut purchase. There is a doughnut shop that opened up maybe a year or so ago called Voodoo Doughnuts. The original store is in Portland, OR, and they have only opened a couple more following their rip-roaring success there – one in Denver, and most recently in Austin, TX. We were in AZ when the Denver store opened, but there were apparently lines blocks long to purchase these doughnuts. The bakery is far from my house, so I have never bothered to go.

However, I knew that my friend likes these particular doughnuts and it is located very near her house. That’s where I decided to go.

It was midmorning when I got there, so the lines had died down. I only had a short wait. Which was just enough time to get over my shock when I saw the price of a dozen doughnuts. My friends, a dozen of mixed doughnuts was $15. For 12 pieces of dough covered with frosting.

Oh, and all sorts of oddball toppings such as Rice Krispies and Fruit Loops and Cocoa Puffs. My dad’s head was undoubtedly spinning……

voo-doo-donut-fruit-loops

I bit the bullet and made my purchase. When I got to my friend’s house, she poured me a cup of very good coffee and we had our doughnuts in her back yard. I will admit that the yeast doughnuts were quite tasty. The cake doughnuts, well, maybe a bit of a disappointment. Perhaps it was the grape Kool Aid coating. And you think I’m kidding.

box-voo-doo-donuts

Our favorite doughnuts these days come from Basha’s markets in Arizona, where, shockingly, my brother works. But I know doughnuts, and I know they are exceptionally good. And they cost – wait for it – 75 cents apiece. But no Fruit Loops.

By the way, since parking was hard to find at Voodoo Doughnuts given that it is located just this side of the state capitol building, I took a chance and parked illegally where a sign warned me not to park. As I walked back to my car, I saw that a patrolman was writing me a ticket. I thought about offering him a Kool Aid doughnut as a bribe, but he pulled away just as I walked up. So add another $50 to my dozen doughnuts!