Weary travelers would rub their bleary eyes in disbelief at the sight of the neon “Krispy Kreme” sign. They had made it. Some might have traveled hours to get to the nearest location. Others had drained local ATMS and were ready to do anything to anyone who stood between them and those glazed, legalized narcotics.
But that was the early 2000s, and soon Krispy took a long, hard fall from grace. Some were surprised; many were not. Obesity was on the rise, and Krispy Kreme didn’t have any foreseeable plans for a salad donut.
Yet small, locally owned donut shops remain a mainstay of cities and towns across the country. Bear claws and maple bars weren’t going to be pushed out of the American diet by threats of obesity and diabetes.
The numbers were troubling, but the idea that Americans should give up an institution loved by so many—Homer Simpson’s talisman, in fact—was something it seems no one could stomach.
Every time you bite into a donut, you are biting into a deep and mysterious part of American history. Several people have laid claim to inventing the treat throughout history, and archaeologists have even found what are believed to be … a little more than day-old donuts at several excavation sites.
The story that seems to stick best is that a man named Hanson Gregory invented the ringed-shaped food aboard a ship at the age of 16 in 1847. Although there were other versions of the donut at the time, none took on the consistency, taste, or shape that Gregory’s claimed, so he taught the technique to his mother.
A refugee by the name of Adolph Levitt invented the first mass donut machine in 1920, and donuts became hugely popular.
Since it comes from mass production, America has fallen deeply in love with the donut. It has been with you on the battlefield, during the quarterly sales meetings, and after your blood donations (voluntary or otherwise).
You can say what you want about the negative effects of sugar and carbohydrates brought together in that sweet, sweet circle of food friendship that is the donut. But the truth is, the donut is an American classic. By sitting down to one or two (or a dozen) donuts now and again, you are exercising your civil rights.
For your local fix, try Sunshine Donuts (195 Higuera St. in SLO), SLO Donut Company (793 E. Foothill Blvd. in SLO), Fresh Donuts (3810 Broad St. in SLO), Dolly’s Donuts (147 Niblick Road in Paso Robles), Golden Donut (863 Oak Park Blvd in Pismo Beach), or hop on the Internet and find dozens of other local donut purveyors.
Intern Maeva Considine compiled this weeks Bites. We want a Bite! Send your cuisine info to email@example.com.