Doughnut or Donut – A Favourite Canadian Snack.

DonutDoughnut or Donut

Unbelievably, Canadians coast to coast consume a little more than three million doughnuts every day and are the world’s most enthusiastic eaters of this deep-dried flavoured dough,

Late and lamented Harry Barberian, the founder of the famous Barberian’s Steak House in Toronto, used to say that fast food companies and doughnut shops earn billions by selling a combination of sugar, flour, salt and fat. Of course he was right, and even today with all the scary literature about fat, sugar and carbohydrates, the doughnut habit, eating commercial hamburgers, and French fries continue unabated.

Contrary to what most Canadians believe, doughnuts were invented in the U. S. A. There are many stories, but the one that claims doughnut has been shown to a young boy in 1847 by an angel in his sleep sound the most compelling and intriguiging.

According to the tale, the buy could not stand the soft middle of doughnuts his mother used to feed him. When he complained, she decided to place a walnut or a few hazelnuts in the middle that he disliked even more. When the angel appeared to him, he was eager to tell his mother that she could cut a hole in the middle to eliminate the soft centre or that with nuts.

Holes had to be hand-cut, until H.Lewitt, a New York baker, invented the doughnut machine in 1920.

Of course Germans claim credit for inventing the doughnut, which they alternately call krapfen, pfannkuchen or Berliner. Bavarians call doughnuts pfannkuchen, which is alternately referred to as pancake, in Berlin doughnuts go under the name krapfen, and in Hamburg as Berliner.

German doughnuts are made using yeast dough. They tend to be light and airy in texture and contain jelly in the centre.

The French have their own version called beignets still famous in New Orleans. Doughnut dough is also cut in strips and twisted to create crullers.

Many producers glaze their doughnuts with a variety of sweet concoctions including chocolate, powdered sugar, vanilla just to name a few.

Understandably, doughnuts must be fresh fried and glazed to taste good and offer a pleasant texture.

Tim Hortons (originally called Tim Horton’s) is the quintessential doughnut provider in Canada operating approximately 2400 stores, of which at least 90 are located in the U. S. A. This chain also serves highly profitable coffee, soups and sandwiches. Tim Hortons is so ingrained in the psyche of Canadians that nobody questions the wisdom of producing doughnuts in a factory in Brampton, which are shipped to a number of stores across the country and reheated on location. Needless to say the freshness and the pleasant texture are lost in the process.

While shipping factory-produced doughnuts across the country cuts cost, the consumer is short-changed, but judging from sales, the population seems to have accepted the quality as offered.

Tom Hortons, is the inventor of Timbits (trademarked) is now owned by Wendy’s.

Since the purchase in 1995, the company embarked upon aggressive marketing strategies to gain market share. Diversification helps bridge valleys in customer flow during the day. Lunch and snacks (cookies) so stressed in TV advertising were designed to increase revenue and utilize store capacity better.

It is surprising that after so much ink is spilled about sugar, fat, flour and salt, doughnuts are still as popular as ever. A doughnut or two occasionally as a treat may be fine, but a steady diet is questionable at best.