Thursday, September 14, 2006

And now for String Theory



Just kidding.

I'm going to lighten up. I think it's been a little INTJ deep introspective tone of serious around here lately. Which is fine. That's me sometimes. But other times I like to leap up on stage, hug and kiss a rock star and scream out my love.

Then's there is the middle. See? Not a fallacy or excluded.

Today, let's talk really important things like donuts.



It occurs to me that donuts are a bit like Oreos. When you like them, you've got your whole personal ritual around them.

First off, church and donuts and cops and donuts seem to have somehow merged into cliche culture. Don't worry I won't ponder that too deeply. This is meant to be a light and fluffy post. But I can't seem to help myself...just a little.

And that is my motto when it comes to donuts: can't seem to help myself, just a little.

I like donuts. I might even like them better than chocolate. But let's not test that because you can get donuts that are chocolate.

So there I am...in a room. Let's say it is in a church. You'd never believe I was a cop anyway.

There sit two boxes: one mixed and one plain glazed.

For the majority of the time, the boxes sit there, untouched. This is a ladies' group and we all need a reason, that is to say, an excuse, to begin.

In my case, I like to say I am Being Good and not eating something that will negate my ability to eat anything else the rest of the day and half of tomorrow. I tell myself I can resist. I am reassured that nobody else opens the box. A box isn't tempting.

However, watching someone open it---the smell sweeping out to my sugar starved nose---and select a soft, still warm donut, then tentatively take the first bite, with donut squishing down on the sides, and a quick flick of the tongue to catch the bit of glaze on the corner of the mouth...that's not tempting, that's irresistible.

So I am number 2 person at the box. I open the floodgates.

I start with the plain glazed. I calculate it is about 6 weight watchers points. I imagine that is less than the iced and filled ones. I console myself that while being naughty, I am not being as naughty as I could be.

It's good, oh it's so good. I don't even feel guilty.

I have a plan, see. I will give donuts to Patience and Persistence, sugar them up. This makes them run, so I get to run. See? Work it off. No guilt.

But the one simply leaves me hungering for more.

I see a friend bite into a jelly-filled, and laughing, catch the jelly squeezing out the back. Must. have. one.

This leads me to wonder about other people and donuts.

What kind of relationship do you have with donuts?

And when you eat a jelly-filled, do you start at the front (away from the hole) or from the back(right at the hole)?

Do you like to drink something sweet like frou frou coffee or chocolate milk to compliment, or something strong like dark roast coffee, to contrast?

What's your favorite donut? Donut place?


My father hooked me on donuts. My mother was very into healthy stuff when we were kids, "Here kids, eat this Orange Candy. Mmmmm. What a treat!" Like we were that stupid. I'd been to school. I knew oranges weren't candy. But my father had secret vices, and so did we, the kids. As an income-earning adult, his field of play knew very few bounds. As low-allowance kids with no means of transportation other than bikes and feet, our field of play was very limited.

In fact, we only had one field of play. It was the corner Stop-N-Go. You had to walk along a fairly busy two-lane street, and cross that same street, to get there. Plus, as my mother said, there was never any good reason to go there because the inside was dirty and disgusting and full of junk.

Music to my kid ears.

And the fact that it was Verboten? Only added to the fun and flavor.

Back then, there was penny candy. Rows and rows and rows. Tons of candy. Pop rocks. Trading card bubblegum. Twizzle sticks. Mike and Ike. Jujubes (which I never ate since this was my most despised nickname---second most despised was Julie Do You Love Me, that damn Bobby Sherman song). Wax lips, fun but disgusting. Good and plenty. I remember the new Hundred Thousand Dollar bars…so big my brain couldn’t wrap around it, but my mouth sure could. Red Hots. My favorite. I loved February when they came heart shaped.

My sister and I spent our whole allowance. On candy. The Forbidden. We’d hide it on our bodies, and then in secret hidey holes in our bedrooms. We’d lie to mom; tell her we just went along for the walk. Or worse, lie more and tell her we were just playing at Shelly’s house.

Shelly. Shelly B. No last names to protect the guilty.

Shelly was a Mean Girl. You know, the one who has power and uses it for evil, not good.

She was the Baby of her Family. Her leash---if she had one---was long and loose. And she knew it, lorded it over the rest of us, children with plenty of rules, discipline, and consequences.

Shelly got to do everything she wanted. Shelly got everything she wanted. You’d think with two teen siblings and two parents she’d have more parents than she could stand, but she ran fast and loose. The parents, I heard adults say, had their hands full with the boy.

So from our perspective Shelly had the good life. Shelly got cookies for snack, candy whenever she wanted, had a pool, could run in the rain, and seemed to have no boundaries.

She knew my sister and I had little to no freedom, and could smell our desperation. I recall one time, everyone had gathered at Shelly’s house, while she perched on her front stoop like a queen. She had Red Hots. She knew we wanted them. She told us we had to do what she said. We refused. She divided the Red Hots into two piles, then dumped both piles into two cups of water. She said, “If you want these you have to drink the whole cup of water!”

Drinking a cup of water didn’t sound too bad. I did it all the time. But I could smell a Game of Humiliation. And I knew Shelly. I thought hard and fast. If I refused, she’d call me a sissy. Kids would think I couldn’t take a dare, and for sure I wouldn’t get the candy. If I complied, she’d think she could rule me, and she’d still probably have some trick where I didn’t get the candy. While I thought, my sister reached for a cup, and before I could stop her, started to drink. The other children whooped and hollered and laughed. My sister started to cry. She was younger, less knowing about the social implications of mean girls. She got to the bottom and ate the candy. Later, she said it was worth it to get the candy. I think…I think she thought it was fun, a game. Maybe she wasn’t wrong.

“Give me that cup,” I said, “You think you can dare us. I’ll drink that water but I don’t even want your gross candy.”

I took a sip. The water was warm, with a slight red dye and spice taste from the dissolving Red Hots. It was disgusting. I could never finish it, not without gagging. Struck by inspiration, I smiled, and turned, dumped the whole cup out, candy too.

“There’s your trick. Mean mean mean mean mean. We don’t need to play with you!” I told her, seething with resentment and anger. And some humiliation. For some reason, she found us targets, my sister and me. I looked at the other children, friends, kids we played with every day. Walked to school with. In league with her. I hated them too. And I hated my mom, too, for making us weird, different, a target.

And that’s when my sister and I started lying to our mom. Using our allowance to buy candy, and hiding it in our rooms. I’d stash Halloween candy and make it last all year practically. Easter candy too, although it usually didn’t last as long.

When my parents divorced, we sold that house and moved. I never saw Shelly again.

And we started only seeing our dad every other weekend. He was more a Father. You know, business suit guy, earns the income, comes home to make sure the wife is running it well and to Be In Charge. He played with us a little, but more in an “I’m teaching you” way, like to ride a bike or a skateboard. Maybe if we had been tomboys, he’d have interacted more, but he wasn’t too keen on our Barbie Wonderland.

In the same way we had our own life, at home, which didn’t include him, after the divorce he had his own life and routine too…one he couldn’t seem to change on the weekends we were there. Maybe he subscribed to the “children live around the parents, not the parents live around the children” theory. I don’t know.



I do know that every weekend we saw him, on Saturday we’d go to Shipley’s early and get fresh donuts. This was his bribe to us, his one concession. After that we’d get dragged to hardware stores and car dealerships all weekend…doing Dad things. It never occurred to him to have kid-friendly activities, toys, friends, playdates…anything.

So donuts…getting donuts…was the one fun thing. Sometimes we’d take the donuts home and he’d make his Famously Delicious Scrambled Eggs, and Orange Julius, to go with the donuts.

We loved donuts. They were Our Thing with Dad. And he, let me tell you, was a connoisseur. We learned to appreciate what made donuts good versus just okay.

So to this day, I look at a donut and always recall the Very Best One. And I can’t resist, just in case. Since moving here I’ve rediscovered Shipley’s. They are always good. Usually irresistible. And always a good bribe for the kids on a Saturday morning.

Oh, and to answer my own questions:

What kind of relationship do you have with donuts? Just elaborated on that in this post.

And when you eat a jelly-filled, do you start at the front (away from the hole) or from the back(right at the hole)? Always away from the hole. Sort of a treasure hunt for my mouth. Nothing makes me so angry food-wise as to get gypped with little to no filling in my donut after careful excavation of the interior.

Do you like to drink something sweet like frou frou coffee or chocolate milk to compliment, or something strong like dark roast coffee, to contrast? Start sweet, stay sweet. So definitely frou frou coffee. I always like French vanilla and nothing has ever topped that for me.

What's your favorite donut? Donut place? You’d never ask me to name my favorite child. I protest. Oh wait, this is my question. Well, I declare it officially UNFAIR and refuse to answer on that basis. I will admit a partiality for the doughy apple fritters and plain glazed, but I guess a nice sour cream cake might come close to favorite. As for place, Shipley’s.

By Julie Pippert
Artful Media Group
Museum Quality Digital Art and Photography
Limited Edition Prints
Artful by Nature Fine Art and Photography Galleries

© 2006. All images and text exclusive property of Julie Pippert. Not to be used or reproduced.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

3 comments:

bubandpie said...

Wow. I don't have any kind of good donut-related emotional baggage. Does patriotic donut-eating count? Because it's Tim Hortons all the way and maple-glazed for extra Canuck power.

nomotherearth said...

"Orange Candy" - ha, ha! I'm still laughing at that one. I'm going to have to remember it and use it on The Boy.
As to doughnuts, well, I grew up in Hamilton, so I am a Tim Hortons girl all the way. They were our Sunday breakfast before we were shuffled off to church, so maybe they were used as a bribe to behave? Not a good idea, because the sugar gave me a buzz. I never really ate jelly doughnuts, but to Boston Cream count? I would find out where the cream was and eat the doughnut all around it until I only had chocolate and cream left. My favourite? Double Chocolate all the way (I hear you about doughnut AND chocolate..). I also really wanted to like the Walnut Crunch, because it was my Dad's favourite, and I thought it was very grown-up. A grown-up doughnut!

Julie Pippert said...

Patriotic donut eating counts, but I can't imagine a life without food emotional baggage. Boston Creams of course count as filled! My husband's faves.

Yeah um, the "orange candy" story was a cautionary tale LOL. The Boy will be on to you and will begin staring at you distrustfully...sniffing all food you serve him. ;)