Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Doughnuts, I love you, but we can't be together

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I am a fiercely proud Canadian, but there are times when I feel pangs of envy as I cast my gaze south of the border.

Those pangs become especially intense on the first Friday in June because that is when the United States celebrates -- prepare to turn green with envy -- National Doughnut Day.

This is a day when, as the name implies, Americans celebrate all things doughnut, and U.S. doughnut shops traditionally hand out free samples of their deep-fried wares to the unwashed masses.

I am told some doughnut shops in Canada -- where these carbohydrate-intensive circles of undeniable deliciousness are as close as we come to having a national dish -- do the same, not that I was able to find any near my house.

According to Wikipedia, which is the go-to reference for people like me who place a higher value on doughnuts than on in-depth research, National Doughnut Day was created by the Salvation Army in 1938 to honour female volunteers -- dubbed "Doughnut Dollies" -- who heroically served doughnuts to the doughboys during the First World War.

The Sally Ann reportedly sent about 250 volunteers, mostly women, to France during the First World War to set up canteens in abandoned buildings near the front lines, where it proved far easier to whip up doughnuts than fancier baked goods.

Not that I am jealous or anything, but the U.S. also marks three other doughnut days, including Jelly-Filled Doughnut Day on June 8 (occasionally June 9); National Cream-Filled Doughnut Day on Sept. 14; and Buy a Doughnut Day on Oct. 30.

What with being a Canadian strong and free, I am devoted to doughnuts. In truth, I love doughnuts. I dream about doughnuts. I covet doughnuts. I desire them with the sort of deep-fried passion columnists of my girth do not normally discuss openly in family newspapers.

The one thing I currently do not do is eat doughnuts. This is not my fault. It is my doctor's fault. With medical logic I believe has a hole in its centre, he recently declared my body a "doughnut-free zone."

"Think of them like bullets and knives," he grunted. "They should not enter your body at any time."

So what I do is simply look at doughnuts. For instance, on Sunday, when I served as MC for Riverview Health Centre's 15th annual Cycle on Life fundraising ride, I drew applause for bravely striding away from a table literally groaning with Timbits.

When I am in my local Safeway, I will wander in a daze around the baked goods section, looking longingly at the doughnuts nestled inside their see-through containers the way new fathers moon over babies through a hospital window.

In Tim Hortons, when I go for coffee, I will press my sizable nose up against the glass while a small chain of drool trickles slowly down my cherubic face.

"Can I help you, sir?" one of the clerks will say with more apprehension than politeness.

"No, I'm just browsing," I will sniff in reply as though I had been trying on clothes at a discount department store but couldn't find any pants in my size.

So even though I am not an active participant, I still support the concept of National Doughnut Day. Having said that, I should stress not all the doughnut-related news rising up from the U.S. is good news.

In freshly baked news reports that had my eyes glazing over, so to speak, U.S. fast-food giant Dunkin' Donuts announced it has added a doughnut breakfast sandwich to its menu.

Unveiled on Friday, it consists of fried eggs and bacon sandwiched between a split glazed doughnut. Call me a true patriot, but I cannot stand on guard for such a diabolical sandwich. Sure, it sounds decadently delicious, but my glowing heart tells me it's definitely un-Canadian.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 10, 2013 A2

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