December 17, 2015

Doughnuts, coffee, and Shirley Jackson

"The bright sunlight across from Mrs. Nash's kitchen doorway, the solid table bearing its plates of doughnuts, the pleasant smell of the frying, were all symbols somehow of Mrs. Nash's safety, her confidence in a way of life and a security that had no traffic with chicken killing, no city fears, an assurance and cleanliness so great that she was willing to bestow its overflow on the Walpoles, bring them doughnuts and overlook Mrs. Walpole's dirty kitchen."
—The Renegade, Shirley Jackson

I am pleased to discover that Shirley Jackson's collection of short stories, The Lottery, is all it's cracked up to be. 

She knows how to write horror into her stories in a subtle but effective way. No gory details or gushing blood or monsters here. The real monsters among us or inside of us. The real monsters are the husbands who don't care or the neighbors who gossip or the polite young men who lie. Among all the horrors of society, one can always count on doughnuts as a symbol of safety. They will always one of the most nostalgic foods for me, too. 

During my growth spurt, I once ate half a dozen doughnuts for breakfast without breaking a sweat. Allow me to explain. There was this fantastic doughnut place near our house called Christy's Donuts (sadly closed now). 

Los Angeles is home to a lot more independent doughnut shops than New York (probably because of lower rent). Here in New York, the doughnuts are either super fancy (Dough, Doughnut Plant), or of the chain variety (Dunkin Donuts, Tim Hortons, etc.). The exception is a wonderful place called Donut Pub (probably my favorite doughnut spot in New York). It's never pretentious, always open, and always tasty. But I digress.

Christy's Donuts carried the most light-as-air sugar doughnuts in the world. That's how I was able to eat six of them in one sitting. I think I only stopped because the other six in the box were glazed (my sister's preference). I have no idea what my parents thought about this abnormal eating behavior. 

Note to self (and other doughnut lovers): a baked cinnamon doughnut recipe to try someday.