Monday, October 19, 2015

October 19, 2015--Donuts

It was still dark at 6:15 but Rona was stirring.

So in a whisper I said, "Are you awake?"

"Sort of," she mumbled.

"Interested in Frosty's?"

"For donuts?" Without waiting for an answer, she threw back the covers and stumbled quickly toward the bathroom.

We hadn't been there for about a month and for the past were feeling a donut rush. And we knew, to get the widest selection--especially Boston Creams--we would be pushing our luck if we showed up after 8:00. It's about a 50 minute drive and knew if we didn't hit the road by 7:00, traffic being unpredictable, we might make all that effort and wind up disappointed.

And Frosty's is the last place in the world where you want to be disappointed. If you can't rouse yourself, better not even to go.

"Look at that pink sky," Rona said, almost impossible to understand with the electric toothbrush whirring away.

"That's sunrise. You're rarely up early enough to see it." I was attempting to represent my insomnia as evidence of my moral superiority. "Right now, actually in about 15 minutes, it should be rising above the horizon just north of Monhegan Island."

"If I hurry, do you think there's enough time to drive to the Pemaquid Loop so we can see it?"

I checked my watch and said, "It depends on what you mean by hurry."

"I know, I know, this is about donuts."

Well, Rona did hurray sufficiently and we did get to the Loop just in time to see the fireball of the sun leap above the horizon at the edge of the Gulf of Maine."

"I have to try this more often" Rona sighed. "I'm missing too many things of this kind. But let's get a move on I need one of those Boston Creams."

"I think we'll be OK, but to be sure why don't you call them to reserve one?"

"Reserve one? You can reserve a dozen. But just one?"

"It never hurts to ask."

Which Rona did and when we got there--almost too late at five to eight--there it was in a small white paper bag propped up on the counter with "Rona" written on it.

You get a better price if you order a half dozen so we asked for a Glazed Raised, a Butternut Crunch, one Maple Glazed, and two Chocolate Coconuts to accompany the Boston Cream. That made a half dozen.

"If we need more," I told the woman serving us, we can always come back for them."

"If there are any left," she alerted us knowingly. "If you want, I can put a few more aside for you."

Not wanting to appear as out of control as we were, I shrugged and said, "I think six will be fine for us."

Rona kicked me.

"OK," I corrected myself, "How about a Glazed Twist and another Butternut Crunch. We really love those."

The server smiled, having heard it all.

After filling up on Frosty's--we did manage to eat all eight--heading home I spotted a sign for Orr's and Bailey Islands.

"We've never been there so why don't we see what there is to see."

After only four miles we entered another universe of glacier-gouged coves, fishing villages from another era, and a landscape dotted with lobstermen's cottages and cabins.

Rona said, "This feels like a perfect place to get away from things and readjust one's inner balances. That Log Cabin Inn looks to be where one could book a room to take all of this in and get reoriented."

"It looks just right for that. Maybe next season we should check in for a few days."

"How about next week?" Rona said only half kidding. "They are clearly still open."

"Maybe we should," I said, "Thursday's our anniversary."

"And Frosty's only a short drive from here. And . . . "

On the way home we talked about the popularity of donuts. "At least as popular as pizza," Rona said.

"Or bagels," I said.

"I wonder about the origins of donuts," Rona mused.

"I don't know why I'm saying this but my guess is that they're of German origin. I mean, pretzels are and I think bagels."

"Donuts are not really like either pretzels or bagels. Except maybe they have similar shapes. But neither are fried. In fact, quite the opposite."

"If we had a smart phone we could look it up."

"I'd rather look at Casco Bay," Rona said, staring out her window at the foliage, now close to their magnificent peak.

So I stopped rattling on about donuts and paid attention to the narrow, twisting road.

Back home, after checking emails, In Wikipedia I looked up donuts. For certain they are not of German origin. In fact, who first made them is not definitively known. Probably the Dutch who in the early 19th century made what they called donut-like oliekoeks, or "oil cakes." The term donut itself is an American invention. First appearing in Washington Irving's History of New York. He called them doughnuts, and they were really more what Dunkin Donuts calls Munchkins, or donut holes.

Later that afternoon, agreeing it had been one of our best times ever, I said, "I know you won't believe this after what we ate for our so-called breakfast, But I'm feeling a little hungry."

"Me too," Rona sheepishly admitted. "Since we're not having a healthy eating day, why don't we heat up that can of Chef Boyardee ravioli we impulsively bought a couple of months ago. You said, it was 'for old times sake.'"

"Another guilty pleasure. But what a wonderful idea," I said, reaching for a small sauce pan. Rona already had the mini ravioli can opened.

With enough parmesan cheese, they were in fact delicious, tasting to each of us just as they had the last time we had any. Decades ago. "I don't think they had the mini version back then," I said.

"Maybe for next time we should get the classic version."

"The next time? You mean you want these again? Soon?"

"Why not? I read the label and the ingredients are all pretty much OK. With an arugula salad and some crusty bread they could make a pretty good dinner."

"We'd probably need more than one can. For lunch, one is plenty; but for dinner, I think a can each."

"We could make a mix of both kinds--the classic and the mini."

"Listen to us," Is said. "It's come to this. The next thing we know we'll be checking out recipes for Spam."

"While you're looking things up," Rona said. "Check out Chef Boyardee. To see if he is or was a real person."

In less than a minute I knew.

"Yes, he was an actual person, an Italian immigrant named Ettore "Hector" Boiardi, who made and served ravioli in his restaurant in Cleveland. They were so popular that his customers urged him to produce and sell them, which he did beginning in 1928. They appear to be made in the same factory."

"What a country," Rona said. Frosty's in the early morning, Chef Boyardee in the afternoon. What shall we have for dinner?"

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