Friday, June 4, 2010

The Magic Is In the Hole

Magnet # 259:  Greetings From Portland

Material:  Metal, Paper, Mylar Shell

Purchased By:  Mom & Dad

Looking for an excuse to indulge? Well, you're in luck because today is National Doughnut Day! This U.S. event always falls on the first Friday in June and dates back all the way to 1938. It's almost hard to believe, but it was created by the Chicago chapter of the Salvation Army as a way to raise money during the Great Depression and honor the women who served doughnuts to World War I soldiers. These Lassies, as they were known, were sent over to France to mend uniforms, provide supplies for sending letters back home, and bake bread to boost the troops' morale. But they soon found that baking goods in abandoned buildings near the front lines was a pretty difficult feat. Luckily, inspiration hit and the ladies realized that baking doughnuts would be much easier. And the doughnuts were a big hit with the soldiers. So did doughnuts help the Allies win the First World War? We'll never know for certain, but they may played and important role in helping to defeat tyranny and keep the world safe.

And where would I like to be to celebrate this occasion? On the other side of the country in Portland, Oregon at one of the most unusual doughnut stores of all - Voodoo Doughnut! I haven't eaten a doughnut in about five years, but I would definitely make an exception if I were at this establishment. It's become a favorite of the Travel Channel, and they have featured it on their Doughnut Paradise, Extreme Fast Food, and it was number 20 out of 101 establishments on their Chowdown Countdown. Both Man V. Food's Adam Richman and Anthony Bourdain have visited it on their respective shows, and when Bourdain found the restaurant closed the next day, he faked a meltdown. So why all the fuss? Well, Voodoo Doughnut was founded by two longtime friends, Kenneth "Cat Daddy" Pogson and Tres Shannon, who had wanted to start a business together and realized there was no independent doughnut shop in downtown Portland. Well, they decided to fill that void and open their own shop. But given that they had no experience making doughnuts, they first traveled to learn the art of making doughnuts from the masters. They returned to the City of Roses bursting with ideas and decided to make doughnuts that truly differed from the norm.  Their signature Voodoo Doll is made in the shape of a man, filled with raspberry jelly, and comes complete with a pretzel stick to stake the 'lil guy.  They also have a Maple Bacon Bar topped with real bacon, and their Portland Cream has been decreed the official doughnut of the city.  They aren't afraid to top off their creations with just about anything, from bubble gum to cereal, candy, and cookies to Tang and lemonade dust.  They even tried putting NyQuil, Tums, and Pepto-Bismol on their doughnuts until the FDA ordered them to stop.  Best of all, by most accounts, their doughtnuts really are tasty.  
In fact, you can see their wild selection of delights at  And, I must admit, I swiped their fantastic slogan to use as a title for today's post - yep, they have a great sense of humor. They even do weddings, complete with doughnuts for the bridal party.  Hopefully, I'll make it out there someday to try out their one-of-a-kind creations in their offbeat shop. I think it's pretty unlikely that I'll be disappointed with Voodoo Doughnut - these guys are definitely raising the bar on doughnuts.

Even if you're nowhere near Portland, that's no excuse not to get out and take advantage of this occasion. Doughnuts really are an American institution.  They were created over here by what's generally believed to be Dutch immigrants, but some say it was the English.  The hole in the center was introduced to avoid a raw, doughy middle.  But now, that no longer seems to be a problem and we can have circular doughnuts with no holes, bars, crullers, doughnut holes, and so many different shapes that the possibilities seem to be endless.  They're so popular that they've been imported to every continent except Antarctica, with the locals putting their own spin on the tasty treats all over the globe.  So stop by a local doughnut shop and join in on the fun today.  And if you're really in luck, you might even find one of the shops that are giving away free doughnuts in celebration.  Just remember not to take in too many of these deep-fried delights, but one or two can help you join in on the fun that's going on all over the nation.


  1. I would definately like to try Voodoo Doughnuts but unfortunately they are just too far away. I guess the local doughnut shop will have to do.

  2. Same here - maybe one year for National Doughnut Day!

  3. Probably a good thing I missed reading this on the day in question. I've finally gotten my weight down below 200. Donuts probably wouldn't be conducive to keeping it off.


    BTW, Reading a book you might like: Camille by Alexandre Dumas fils (son of the more famous novelist of the same name).

    A period novel also about the courtisans and the men who love them.

  4. Good for you! Losing weight is so tough and I hope you're able to make it last.

    I will have to keep that one in mind. I always like a good courtesan tale.