It’s not a health thing. Or even an aversion to sweet, doughy concoctions. It’s that they don’t taste like the donuts my mother made. Just once. (Or, at least, that’s the only time I can remember.)
My mother was, and is, wonderfully resourceful and inventive. At the time, that was partly by necessity in an age when only one parent worked, and partly by an upbringing that stenciled frugality onto her every decision. And, of course, this was long before the omnipresent coffee shop offered a poor substitute for fresh, deep-fried donuts.
I was an early teen, as I recall, and we were living in Hampton, a sleepy backwater of eastern Connecticut. From my now-experienced-eyes as a home chef, I’m certain the preparations were far more arduous than I took measure of; what I savored were the smells wafting from a Dutch oven brimming with oil at some fearsome temperature, islands of fresh dough swimming gently, first pale then golden, and then liberated onto paper bags for that ne plus ultra, the dusting with sugar that made these treasures sublime.
In a house with 6-kids and a never-ending parade of this tag-along or another, cooking for my mother was, no doubt, more like feeding a barracks full of Tasmanian Devils than one rooted in passions for flavorful concoctions. For her audience, one came by one’s share only by being at the front of the line or having a better reach at the table.
And, so it was that I had more than my share that morning, for which I feel no guilt, brothers and sisters.