Synopses & Reviews
Doughnuts, like hot dogs and apple pie, are widely seen as a quintessentially American food.But their story is much older, one that began in the Old World. Doughnut: A Global History reveals the long history and wide reach of these deep-fried dough delights. Heather Hunswick takes readers on an exciting ride from pre-history, to Ancient Egypt and Rome, through medieval and Renaissance Europe, and up to the New World. Here, doughnuts evolved from the open-hearth to the present, with its many old and familiar local favorites, popular commercial brands, and new waves of mouth-watering artisanal creations. Itandrsquo;s a story that encompasses not just culinary history, but the doughnutandrsquo;s role in art and culture, health and social changes, and fad and fashion. So pour a cup of coffee and settle in for a great read, one sure to delight doughnut lovers and food historians alike.
"In the latest cultural-historical look at a beloved American foodstuff, anthropologist Mullins (Race and Affluence) offers a rather tangled explanation of the doughnut's origin, popularity and significance. Technically, the doughnut is probably Chinese in origin, though the Germans, French and Latin Americans also have valid claims; Mullins finds the 1669 Dutch recipe for 'olie-koecken' most closely resembles today's beloved fried breakfast pastries. Mullins finds that for many immigrants arriving at Ellis Island, a jelly doughnut was the first food they tasted, permanently tying the pastry in new arrivals' minds to what it means to be American (though Canadians, who have a higher per capita rate of doughnut shops, may have a different opinion). Though occasionally subject to long-winded (largely pointless) academic digressions, Mullins' take on a much-maligned food is multifaceted and largely interesting. He introduces readers to the inventor of the doughnut hole, Captain Hanson Gregory, explores the traditional marriage of cops and doughnuts, looks at the brand loyalties of different demographics, and investigates the food's impact on public health with aplomb and curiosity. For those who can suffer the cravings, this makes a satisfying tour." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In Mullins's skillful hands, this simple pastry provides surprisingly compelling insights into our eating habits, our identity, and modern consumer culture.
A trip through the doughnut hole to learn what a humble circle of fried dough tells us about ourselves "Mullins does a fine job of examining the doughnut not as a singular thing or symbol, but as a complex object that elicits many subtly different--sometimes contradictory--ideas about us. He grapples with the complicated social history of this particular food item not by merely examining its physical history, but by tracing the rich and complicated connections between doughnuts and people across time, space, ethnic identity, and national boundaries."--Jamie C. Brandon, coeditor of Household Chores and Household Choices Everybody loves a good doughnut. The magic combination of soft dough, hot oil, and sugar coating--with or without sprinkles--inspires a wide range of surprisingly powerful memories and cravings. Yet we are embarrassed by our desire; the favorite food of Homer Simpson, caricatured as the dietary cornerstone of cops, a symbol of our collective descent into obesity, doughnuts are, in the words of one California consumer, a "food of shame." Paul Mullins turns his attention to the simple doughnut in order to learn more about North American culture and society. Both a breakfast staple and a snack to eat any time of day or night, doughnuts cross lines of gender, class, and race like no other food item. Favorite doughnut shops that were once neighborhood institutions remain unchanged--even as their surrounding neighborhoods have morphed into strip clubs, empty lots, and abandoned housing. Blending solid scholarship with humorous insights, Mullins offers a look into doughnut production, marketing, and consumption. He confronts head-on the question of why we often paint doughnuts in moral terms, and shows how the seemingly simple food reveals deep and complex social conflicts over body image and class structure. In Mullins's skillful hands, this simple pastry provides surprisingly compelling insights into our eating habits, our identity, and modern consumer culture.
About the Author
Paul Mullins, associate professor of anthropology at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, is the author of Race and Affluence: An Archaeology of African America and Consumer Culture.
Table of Contents
1. The Doughnut Defined and#160; 2. The Historical Doughnut and#160; 3. The American Doughnut and#160; 4. The Imperial Doughnut and#160; 5. The Cultural Doughnut and#160; Recipes and#160; References and#160; Select Bibliography and#160; Websites and Associations and#160; Acknowledgements and#160; Photo Acknowledgements and#160; Index and#160;