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My name is Eric Reaves and I am the “ghost” cartoonist on the Hi and Lois comic strip. Ghost cartoonist means I create the comic strip and sign my bosses name (Chance Browne) when I’m done.
Anyway, I wanted you all to know that I put your store in yesterday’s comic strip. My youngest son is an aspiring actor and we have traveled from Indiana to LA on a few occasions. When we do, a stop at Randy’s is always part of the trip! Enjoy and thanks!
Chief Cartoonist Officer
Browne Creative Enterprises
A Hole In One
There is a very popular half-truth in doughnut lore centered on a very real sea captain and his mother. In 1847, Elizabeth Gregory was known in her New England circle to make a very fine olykoek. Her secret was to add a hint of nutmeg and fill the center with hazelnuts or walnuts. She even had a special name for her creation — dough-nuts. (A more plausible explanation of the name is far less exciting, early recipes instructed amateur chefs to create “little nuts of dough” and place these balls into the hot oil.)
As legend has it, Mrs. Gregory sent her son Captain Hanson Crockett Gregory on one of his sea voyages with several dough-nuts and her recipe to make more. It is here that one legend branches off into several versions. In one variation, Captain Hanson found himself having difficulty steering his ship and holding his dough-nut at the same time. The quick-thinking swabby impaled his dough-nut on one of the spokes of his steering wheel. Satisfied with his new dough-nut holder, he ordered his cook to henceforth prepare all dough-nuts with holes in the center.
Another variation of the legend might be easier to swallow. Simply stated, the Captain didn’t like the nuts and he poked them out. Acting on his Captain’s request, the ship’s cook created all subsequent doughnuts with the centers removed using the top of a round tin pepper box as a cutter.
Did Captain Gregory invent, as he stated to the Boston Post, “the first dough-nut hole ever seen by mortal eyes”? We may never know. However, we can be sure of the positive changes that happened to the doughnut during the cooresponding period in time. Olykoeks with holes in the center cooked far more evenly and the novelty of the new-found “doughnut-shape” would soon propel the doughnut to a popularity derserving of myths and legends.
During World War I, the doughnut had already achieved status as an American favorite. Young American men fighting oversees were served doughnuts by grateful Frenchmen as a reminder of the food back home.
By the 1920′s, doughnuts were being mass-produced. Their association with breakfast was only just beginning and the doughnut was more popular as a snack in theaters. To satisfy the growing demand for doughnuts in one New York neighborhood, a Russian expatriate named Adolph Levitt created the first doughnut machine. By 1934, the same year that the World’s Fair in Chicago declared the doughnut “the food hit of the Century Of Progress”, Levit was pulling down twenty-five-million dollars annually for the sale of his doughnut machines to bakeries.
The 1940′s and 50′s, saw the advent of doughnut chains such as Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Dunkin’ Doughnuts. As coffee became more of a staple in bakeries across the country, the perception of the doughnut as a breakfast item became more prevalent. There seemed to be no stopping the oily cake.
But alas, at the height of civil rights turmoil and our nations tribulations as the so-called “policeman of the world”, so too did the doughnut face its share of troubles. The popularity of “fancy cakes” seemed to obscure what a doughnut actually was. The German bismarck had gained incredible momentum as a top-seller in bakeries. Glazes of every imaginable flavor, color and texture relegated the original olykoek to the rank of “plain doughnut” and even that was often confused with sugar-glazed raised cakes.
Just as the number doughnut shops grew exponentially in the 1940′s and 50′s, corner shops hawking something called a bagel grew in the 1970′s and 80′s. Being washed aside by the tide of bagel popularity, doughnuts, whatever they were, were being seen as the backwater hick cousin to its city-slicker alternative. But worst of all, the doughnut was being called unhealthy.
Pay no mind to the fact that a bagel with cream cheese has over 450 calories; the doughnut was called out time and time again for it’s average 300 calories per cake. So, what was a doughnut to do?
Doughnuts, otherwise acceptably referred to as donuts, have been a part of American culture for decades. They’re a comfort food that’s managed to survive the Great Depression and the current health-food craze. They taste good and they make people happy – enough said.
Image credit: pochacco20
Believe it or not, doughnuts were tossed out of “Doughnut Mobiles” to troops during both World War I and World War II. We bring them to school functions, club gatherings, and even political events. Doughnuts are one of the longest lived snacks in the country, and for good reason. Here are the 10 best doughnut destinations in the country.
10. Bouchon Bakery (New York, Las Vegas, and California)
Image credit: star5112
The original Bouchon Bakery was built to supply local restaurants with bread. Today, Chef Thomas Keller creates some of the most sought after doughnut recipes on the planet from delectable French-inspired recipes. Our favorite is the gigantic Boston Cream doughnut with extra chocolate topping and cream. Mmmm!
9. Chef Mavro (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Image credit: _e.t
In Hawaii the proper name for a doughnut is the malassada. Inspired by Portugese immigrants, Chef George Mavrothalassitis fills his sweet treats with a curd made of passion-fruit before topping them with guava sauce and a side of ice cream.
8. Coffee an’ Donut Shop (Westport, Connecticut)
Image credit: Holly Eats
The doughnuts from Coffee an’ Donut Shop in Westport are so good President Bill Clinton used to have them shipped directly to the White House on a regular basis. The bakers here use a safely-guarded old fashioned recipe that has pleased visitors for decades. Even Paul Newman used to stop in on a regular basis.
7. The Donut Man (Glendora, California)
Image credit: jslander
On the outside, The Donut Man looks like any other doughnut shop. On the inside, however, you’ll be greeted by some of the most mouth-watering treats you’ve ever seen. The owner, Jim Nakano, bakes huge clam-shell style doughnuts that are stuffed with locally grown fresh fruit. You won’t taste anything quite as fresh as this.
6. Doughnut Plant (New York, New York)
Image credit: richard winchell
Take one step inside the famed Doughnut Plant and you’ll be in for a real treat. The owner uses incredible organic ingredients, obtained fresh from the farmers market each day, and creates fluffy doughnut flavors you won’t find anywhere else. Some include rose petals and all are made with fresh spring water. Looking for something really unique? Try the peanut butter and banana doughnut!
5. Morning Call (Metairie, Louisiana)
Image credit: hamron
At Morning Call you’ll be served what is fondly referred to as a beignet, also known as the “French Market doughnut.” They’re fluffy and chewy but have a great deal of substance. Some are served with special toppings or fillings but the traditional beignet is simply sprinkled with powdered sugar and served hot out of the oil bin.
4. Spudnuts (Charlottesville, Virginia)
Image credit: Nick Bair
The Spudnuts store in Charlottesville is the last of a chain that used to exist across the nation. Today you’ll really only find this one store unless you go out to the West Coast. These doughnuts are incredibly special because they are made with potatoes. The small, fluffy doughnuts have a unique taste you won’t find in most bakeries.
3. Top Pot (Seattle, Washington)
Image credit: faeryboots
Top Pot is to Seattle what Doughnut Planet is to New York City. They serve delectable doughnuts that have been created by some of the most creative chefs and bakers in the area. Their sweet treats are made from the finest ingredients and are as close to a gourmet doughnut as you’re going to get in the Seattle area.
2. Zingerman’s Bakehouse (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
Image credit: *ejk*
Zingerman’s Bakehouse is one of the hottest bakeries in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area and their doughnuts are certainly nothing to sneeze at. The doughnuts here have two special ingredients: lemon zest and nutmeg. The trailer behind the roadhouse is home to the bakery itself and if you’re lucky you’ll get to see these chewy treats hitting the fryers.
1. Randy’s Donuts (Los Angeles, California)
Image credit: zemistor
Randy’s Donuts has been around since the 1950′s and is as popular as a movie icon as it is for the doughnuts they serve. Despite the 22-foot doughnut that adorns the roof, the little shop has earned its reputation – especially for its glazed doughnut. Not everyone can balance the perfect ratio of doughnut to glaze, but Randy’s has the recipe down pat.
Are you hungry for a doughnut yet? If so, you certainly have quite a few places to choose from. Try to hit one of these incredible doughnut shops the next time you’re on the road. Your stomach won’t regret the experience!