The Ten Commandments of Doughnuts
The Segal-Loevy laws
I. Thou shalt not steal thine neighbor’s doughnut.
II. Thou shalt not make for oneself a graven image of a doughnut that includes white frosting.
III. Thou shalt not partake of sprinkles.
IV. Thou shalt not dunk. [Amongst the Segal-Loevys, only Steve is allowed to dunk, because he married into the family.]
V. Remember the oil, and keep it holy. [Any doughnut that has been fried in the same oil as anything but other doughnuts is impure, as evidenced by a recent batch they tried from Calumet Bakery, which tasted of fish filets.]
VI. Thou shalt not commit Krispy Kremery.
VII. Thou shalt wait patiently for the first batch in the morning.
VIII. Thou shalt eat thine doughnut straight from the fryer.
IX. Thou shalt not pay $3 for one doughnut. If one is compelled to do so, it should be roughly the size of a Nerf football.
X. Honor thy mother and father. Unless their taste in doughnuts is lousy. In which case thou shalt rebuke them heartily.
More thoughts on doughnuts from the Segals and Loevys
Over the past few years, I sat down with the Segal-Loevy family a handful of times and sampled hundreds of doughnuts. We ate so many that we had a bowl in the middle of the table that someone dubbed the “silver spittoon.” Everyone would take a bite or two, render a verdict, and toss the rest of the doughnut in the bowl. I kept eyeing the bowl, thinking about how much good stuff was in there, but the point is, with all the good doughnuts out there, why waste space and calories and energy on subpar specimens? While eating, the family (Sara Segal Loevy, her husband, Steven, their son, Nate, and Sara’s brother, Lewis Segal, and his son, Carl . . . I’ll draw you a family tree if you’re really interested) pontificated on this, and various doughnut-related subjects.
On White Frosting
Sara: White frosting on doughnuts is like Elmer’s Glue. It’s meant to just hold other junk on top.
On the Luck of the Draw
Carl: Just based on the cross-section of samples today, I’m going to say whoever was on the icing section today went a little light. Maybe it was their first day of service.
Lewis: She did look like she was only 12 or 13.
On Krispy Kreme
Sara: You can’t cut a Krispy Kreme. Because the minute you run a knife through it, the whole thing compresses flat. It’s like Wonder Bread. There’s nothing inside a Krispy Kreme. It’s all outside, and too much glaze.
On Dunkin’ Donuts
Carl: It’s lighter than the one from 7-Eleven. It started its life in a better place. How they treated it after it hit the oil is another question.
On Determining Grease Levels
Me: What the hell are you doing there with the straw? Steve?
Steve: I’m blowing pieces of the doughnut out of a straw. You get to look at the density and crumb of each, and see where the grease resides. I gotta tell ya. My fingers are really greased up now.
On Doughnuts from Jewel
Nate: Greasy, greasy bottom. This is an aggressive doughnut. I could tell when I tried to cut it. It didn’t want to be cut.
On the Apple Fritter at Old Fashioned Doughnuts
Lewis: Look at these! It looks like an animal dropping. A large animal dropping.
Nate: Wow. Wow.
Carl: A fine piece of equipment. Great crunch, great softness, interesting pockets of moisture.
On Middle-Aged Men and Their Doughnuts
Lewis: “When I walked out of Deerfield Bakery at about 7:15, there were three men my age, each spaced about 50 feet apart, all walking out to the lot. We were spaced exactly apart and we’d ordered the exact same doughnuts for our cars. It was like three airplanes flying at night.”
On Wine and Doughnuts
Lewis: To help me get through riding my bike in the morning, I watch Netflix—
Nathaniel: He also has a doughnut in front of him.
Lewis: I happen to be watching Sideways right now, the wine movie. This discussion sort of parallels the stuff that goes on there.
Me: So which doughnut is the equivalent of merlot?
Everyone: Chocolate doughnut.
On Doughnut Vault
Nate: It’s got all the hallmarks of a fine doughnut. Good spring, oil was hot enough, crispy bottom. Light, airy. This is the finest glazed doughnut I’ve had in my entire life.
Lewis: But is it a good buy? It’s good, but it ought to be for $3 a doughnut. And nobody else made us wait in line and get there 45 minutes early.
Me: They are big.
Sara: Yes. If I were going to pay $3 for a doughnut, I would like it to be like this.
On Newfangled Doughnuts like Dirty Betty’s Peanut Butter Cup, Heath Bar, and Ginger Lime
Nate: They’re good, but you just can’t compare them to other doughnuts.
Their Favorite Doughnut Story Ever
“We have a good friend, Paul Singer, who is a lawyer by training. He gets hauled out of Harvard Law School by his draft board during Vietnam and sent to Fort Dix in New Jersey. Ends up supervising the kitchen. Everybody in the army across the world eats the same thing on the same day, so it’s Friday night and it’s summer and it’s hot, and they’re serving fried fish. The guys say to him at the end of dinner, ‘It’s so hot. We can’t bear to scrub out these fry pots.’ He says: Don’t worry about it. The next morning, doughnuts are on the breakfast menu. Gorgeous cake doughnuts topped with coconuts. And the officers are in line getting their doughnuts, and as each one bites into a doughnut, they spit it out. The whole mess hall is filled with flying coconut. It’s snowing at Fort Dix in July with all the coconut flying in the air, because they fried the doughnuts in the fish oil. He almost got court-martialed.”