Friday, June 1, 2012 / 9:00 am

Hooray, it’s National Donut Day

All is right with the world.

by Gary Phillips

The basic donut in all its glory.

Today June 1 is National Donut Day.  Praise the Lord.  Of course as yet another of my birthdays approaches, and indeed as you get older they sure seem to come closer together, I have been curtailing my donut intake. Still one must pause and give thanks to the food gods for the wondrous sweet ring of sugar and useless calories.  Though I did have a sound rationalization yesterday morning when I stopped at one of the donut shops I frequent to buy two for me and two for my aunt on my way to her house.  I’ve been hacking away with pickaxe and electric trimmer at a wide thatch of bamboo threatening to take over her yard. 

Turns out bamboo is a mutha of a plant to kill.  I have been reading up on the bamboo and found many posts devoted to how best eradicate this pest.  I’ve learned there running versus clumping bamboo, its tangled roots are called rhizomes and that if you use herbicide, you only kill the shoot, not the roots – which have crept over from a neighbor’s yard.   The best solutions short of excavation, according to the American Bamboo Society, seems to get the stuff down as low as possible, then overwater the area, and cut down the new shoots as soon as possible.  The absence of green leaves to photosynthesize eventually starves the roots.  The other plan is to spread fertilizer over the location.  After that stake plastic tarp in place to essentially overfeed and “burn” the roots.  As compared to renting a backhoe and digging down about 16 inches.

I needed those two donuts for the energy to hack away at the shoots and roots.  National Donut Day also recognizes the “Doughnut Lassies” the women of the Salvation Army led by Helen Purviance who served donuts and coffee to the doughboys in France during World War I.  The origin of the donut is properly vague and various legends exist as to how the donut came to be as we know it today.  A persistent story s that Captain Hanson Crockett Gregory loved him this fried cake sweet from Holland.  But holding onto the treat while piloting his ship was awkward so he took to impaling the cake on the spokes of the boat’s wheel and thus the donut hole was born.

This and more can be found in several books on the glorious food from The Donut Book by Sally Levitt Steinberg (granddaughter of the man who invented a donut making machine), Donuts by John T. Edge, Doughnuts by Lara Ferroni, Glazed America by Paul R. Mullins, and The Donut: A Canadian History by Steven Penfold.

Eat hardy.

Gary Phillips' latest is Treacherous: Grifters, Ruffians and Killers, a collection of his short stories.


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