[This Commentary originally appeared in the November 8, 1990 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]
It began as a child. On bright sunny Sundays, my parents would take me, my brother and my sisters to the donut shop after church. As soon as my father parked the car, we would joyfully yank open the doors and leap out into the modest bakery. Inside, our nostrils filled with the warm sweet smell of freshly made donuts. We had entered Nirvana.
We each had our favorite. My mother always chose a jelly filled donut. My father generally preferred peanut covered fried cakes (although he often opted for a cinnamon glaze donut). We kids all worshipped the white cream donut.
Don’t be confused. The white cream donut we sought had no powdered sugar on it. It stood out as a baked donut with chocolate icing on top. The delicious taste of the cooked dough and sweet chocolate complimented the airy nothingness of the rich inner cream. Our obsession tipped the scales towards gluttony.
My parents liked to buy a mix of donuts. They soon learned, however, to include at least four white cream donuts in each dozen they bought. This way, they guaranteed each of their children would get a white cream donut. My brother, a notoriously assertive eater, regularly ruined this strategy by eating two white cream donuts before either I or my sisters had a chance to eat ours. Eventually, my rather astute parents increased the number of white cream donuts to six per dozen as a method of preventing conflict.
Unfortunately, many dangers surround the craving of white cream donuts. Perhaps the worst involves the existence of custard cream. The yellow matter custard repeatedly finds its way into the shell of the standard white cream donut. It represents the nightmare of all white cream donut lovers. Imagine the awful surprise of biting into an expected white cream donut only to discover a mouthful of custard cream. Yech!
Of course, one reads plenty about the health dangers of donut consumption. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a doctor or anything – but I maintain any true believer of white cream donuts must blindly ignore such sound medical advice. The joy of the yummy cream supersedes any rationalist behavior. Besides, that’s why they invented diet pop.
Now that I’m grown, I am in a better position to buy donuts. Sometimes I think I’m in too good a position to buy donuts. Everywhere I turn, a new donut shop appears.
The best donut shop I ever knew had to be Donuts & Cream, on the corner of Lake Avenue in Orchard Park. That’s where we went whenever we wanted donuts while visiting my grandparents. It’s been a long time and I didn’t have a whole lot of donut experience back then, but the selection seemed enormous.
I don’t know. Maybe I call Donuts & Cream the best only because my mother always did. (They had the best jelly donuts.) These days, though, most any real donut shop (whether Dunkin’ Donuts or Wegman’s Bakery) has a wide variety of fresh donuts. They couldn’t be in business today if they didn’t. (Ah! Let us rejoice in America’s ever increasing standard of living.)
I find it quite easy to obtain fresh white cream donuts in the morning. The afternoons or evening don’t provide the same luxury. During that part of the day, one must undertake a concentrated effort just to find a worthwhile donut.
The search for the elusive white cream donut starts with an idle craving that generally occurs after 2:00pm and before 4:00pm. In this two hour window, the low caloric content of lunch becomes recognized by the rather dim-witted stomach which transmits the need for further intake to the brain.
Simultaneously, the taste buds decide they can no longer tolerate the deficiency of lunchtime sweets. They collectively inform the brain of the situation. Upon receiving the signals from the stomach and the taste buds, a series of synapses begin assimilating the data. When completed, these synapses fire off the results of the analysis to some dendrites.
The dendrites, well versed in the subject of culinary alternatives, search their endless files before making a final recommendation to the neurons. The neurons run the recommendation by both the stomach and the taste buds to get any final inputs. Once obtaining the relevant feedback, the neurons make the final decision: purchase and consume one standard sized white cream donut.
By this point, your brain has already informed your legs. You suddenly realize you’re standing in the check-out line with one standard sized white cream donut in the small bag being held by your left hand. Your right hand, meanwhile, holds the exact change.
As you savor the white cream donut moments later, a tranquil joy fills your entire body. That’s when you finally behold the wonders of life, the universe and everything.
Next Week #84: The Environmental Bond Act – Why People are Voting “No!” (originally published on November 1, 1990)
Next Week #86: Consumer-Oriented Cars (originally published on November 15, 1990)
[What is this and why is here? See Interested in Discovering My Time Machine? for more details.]