Let's Eat

Doughnuts: jam-packed with drama

Doughnut debate...what's your stance?


AGAINST doughnuts, Nathan Jeffay

If I want a sugary carby treat, I would much rather have a piece of cake, where every bite is tasty, rather than wade through a big ball of dough to get to the highlight, namely a squirt of jam.

OK, some bakeries are raising the bar on fillings, with better jam. But if I want to enjoy some tasty jam — and I have a soft spot for quality confiture — I would put it on a slice of fine bread, or perhaps, when nobody is looking, eat a spoonful straight from the jar. Why would I hide it inside a big piece of fried dough?

The same goes for other fillings that are becoming trendy in some doughnut bakeries — chocolate ganache and caramel. I cannot think of any instance when they would not be more enjoyable atop a piece of cake.

I remember when a certain bakery started selling doughnuts with the filling in a syringe, placed inside the dough, to make the doughnuts look exciting. I squirted the filling into the doughnut and then went about munching my way through the dough to find it. It felt like a solo treasure hunt where I was looking for treasure I had hidden myself.

It feels like heresy making this admission. I normally hide my position on doughnuts, trying to focus on the positive instead, like my love of latkes, expressed in these pages last Chanukah.

At the Passover Seder, when Jewish law requires us to eat at least a certain quantity of matzah, nobody bats an eyelid at those who eat far less. But try being at a Chanukah party and declining doughnuts — a food which there is no halachic obligation to eat — and you are treated as if you just unfurled an idol and declared you have named it Antiochus.

Well, it is out in the open now. Call me a Chanukah Scrooge but I will not be partaking. I respect those who enjoy doughnuts. Some of my best friends are doughnut eaters. Though I suspect there are many others besides me who have just been ploughing through the dough to get to the jam.

If that describes you, then be brave and be strong, resist the peer pressure all around you — and just say no to doughnuts.


FOR doughnuts
, Gina Benjamin

I have a doughnut problem. I can’t stop eating them.

If I want a sugary carby treat, a cake is too much bother. I would much rather have a good doughnut, where you do not need a knife to cut a slice and where there are no tricky decisions about what constitutes a portion.

There are now so many doughnut fillings that, if you are so alienated from the pleasures of existence that you do not like jam, there is apple, custard, chocolate, dulche de leche — and the best bit is when you bite into the big ball of dough and feel the filling squirt into your mouth. Yes — eating a doughnut is indeed a treasure hunt and with a prize well worth getting. Did nobody ever explain about delayed gratification?

And what could be more gratifying than the spherical form of the classic doughnut? But should you wish to twist it instead, or go with the miniature version for a mouthful of deliciousness, you have the freedom to do so.

Some may champion the latke instead. But everyone knows the smell of frying them will lurk in your house, your clothing, your nostrils for weeks to come. Not to mention the potato-grating injuries. At least when we bite into a doughnut and find redness, we know it will be jam. Although there are lots of other yummy fillings to sample too. 

Ignore Scrooge over there and instead, quote a different Dickens character. Doughnuts (and bread too)? Please sir, may I have some more?

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