Friday, January 12, 2007

Donut-a-palooza



I might actually be getting the hang of this going back to work thing. We (me and my merry band of newbies who started last week) completed our first week of in-house training on the new software product, and survived. Heck, I might actually know a thing or two about the software...just a thing or two, but at least I gots some knowledge.

The corporate culture is pretty interesting at this company...there's this thing called "rookie breakfast," in which the newbies are supposed to provide breakfast for your co-workers and sort of do a meet and greet and let them get to know you. This was a great idea when there were 20 people in the company, but a little daunting when the number is hovering around 180. In light of this, the decision was made at the time we were hired to have the next batch of newbies (us) just do our rookie breakfast for our respective departments. I think there was some wailing and gnashing of teeth, because the annoucement was made the day before what should have been our rookie breakfast day (the first Friday after you start work), and people were sort of caught off guard that there would be no food.

(This whole rookie breakfast concept goes a long way towards explaining why people were so friendly and nice to us during our first day tour--they thought we were going to feed them on Friday!)

One of our intrepid band got the idead that we should join forces, since there were several of us, and do a joint rookie breakfast. I suggested we all grab a couple dozen doughnuts, which would go farther--we had gotten an amended version of the rookie breakfast that stated we should just bring enough stuff for the first wave of folks and the rest would be SOL. A couple new folks actually started this week, so we recruited them to join in as well, and sent out a company-wide email announcing our plan.

This morning, we had what I termed "Donut-a-palooza." There were approximately 18 dozen doughnuts along with 3 or so dozen doughnut holes, and 2 dozen assorted muffins. And, they were from different places--Dunkin' Donuts, Krispy Kreme (and they were warm!), and a local joint called "Happy Donut"--a veritable doughnut smorgasbord. People were pretty amazed at the sheer amount of donuts along with the variety. We even made sure the basement dwelling programmers got a few dozen. They lasted through lunch--when we came back at about 1 pm, there was 1 lone maple-frosted and half a cruller left.

The response from our co-workers was great. We all had several replies to our group email thanking us and letting us know how much we were appreciated and welcomed. Kinda cool...until we found out that there was a reason that food kept appearing on a semi-regular basis in the break room. Seems that this rookie breakfast becomes "anniversary breakfast" from here on out! On the anniversary of your rookie breakfast, you bring breakfast in again...and again the next year. Quite a little racket these guys have going, don'tcha think? Next year, I'm thinking "Saltine Cracker-a-palooza" in honor of our rookie breakfast anniversary.

People are so funny about doughnuts/donuts (the spellings seem to be interchangeable). Many Southerners swear by Krispy Kreme, and may refuse to eat any other kind. And, it is absolutely amazing to see the reaction of people in other parts of the country when a KK opens up--it's a veritable license to print money! I was on a business trip to Vegas about 4 years ago (hardship tour!!), and as I was walking from the Luxor to the Excalibur from inside the buildings, I came upon this giant line of folks. I figured that there must be some celebrity or something that they were waiting to see...but as I drew nearer the front of the line, I could see that it started in the food court...at the Krispy Kreme!! The KK had just opened that week, and it was like these people had never seen a doughnut before...or that they were gold-plated and KK was running a 2-for-1 sale or something. All for a little ring of fried dough. Fried dough.

Personally, and this little confession may get my Southern Womanhood revoked, I'm not a big Krispy Kreme fan. Shock, gasp. I really like cake-style doughnuts much better. Although, in a pinch and a dire need of empty calories, I can force myself to eat a Krispy Kreme Kruller, because it seems less yeasty and glazed...weird, I know, but if you haven't figured that out already, you need to read some more of the archives!

Not to say that I don't like yeast/glazed doughnuts, because I do...certain ones. Ones that tend to come from little hometown bakeries that are almost extinct. They just taste different. I think the Krispy Kreme ones taste too, well "processed" for lack of a better word.

When I was a child, in my Original Hometown, there was a little bakery called The Duchess Bakery. It's been there since 1939 or so, in the same location, and probably most of the same little ol' ladies are chained up in the back, churning out birthday cakes, cupcakes, and doughnuts. It was a great (and a few and far between because we were always running late) treat to stop there in the morning on the way to school and get a warm doughnut.

The Duchess is that type of hometown bakery that people really remember...when you got a birthday cake from The Duchess, THAT was a birthday cake. The pristine white icing with the beautiful roses, the icing that sort of has a little crust to it, the icing that you can't seem to duplicate at home, no matter how hard you try--that icing! I know, I know, it's probably 90% Crisco, but I can't seem to get the ratio right, no matter how hard I try. Ah, The Duchess really does bring back some great memories, and I try to go there when I can, because it really is still the same--the same funky screen door that would smack you in the heel as you went in and all.

Lucky for me and not so lucky for my waistline, there's a place a lot like The Duchess here in my Current Hometown, with great old-fashioned doughnuts and cream horns and birthday cakes with that great bakery icing. And, get this, they make single serving size birthday cakes! Well, technically, it could be called "cakes for two," but who's sharing? Certainly not me! And, this mini-cakes give you a better icing to cake ratio--what more could you ask for as you descend into your diabetic coma? And, don't think I'm joking in bad taste about that whole diabetic coma thing. 90% of the women from my mother's family have or had diabetes (they're dead now), and I figure I'm just a ticking time bomb. But, I'll lick that beater when I come to it! (Don't worry, I really am aware of the dangers of diabetes (mother who gets crazier in direct proportion to how out of whack her sugar is), and I really am trying to avoid my destiny!)

1 comment:

Linna said...

"Donut-a-palooza" -- Isn't that a horse whose spots are shaped like donuts? (Including the colors.)

18 dozen donuts is a LOT of donuts. I'm amazed that they disappeared as fast as they did, even with possibly 180 people snarfing.

I had never had a Krispie Kreme before I moved to Huntspatch. In fact Mommy-O made our donuts growing up because we didn't have a ready source. Hers were small, caky and yummy, especially warm from the oil.

But I do love the airy goodness of the spun-sugar-and-oil Krispie Kreme. Huntsville is also the place I was introduced to the idea of donuts for dessert. This never dawned on me before I moved to the South. There's something magical about a late night run to the KK parlor where the little woman in the shower cap goes back to the line (behind the glass window that shows you the donut making machines) and you see her plucking *your* donut from the conveyor, fresh from its glaze bath. Hot and sugary heaven.

Glad the job is going well!