Glazed America: A History of the Doughnut / Edition 1

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"Paul Mullins turns his attention to the simple doughnut in order to learn more about North American culture and society. Doughnuts cross lines of gender, class, and race like no other food item. Favorite doughnut shops that were once neighborhood institutions remain unchanged even as their surrounding neighborhoods have morphed into strip clubs, empty lots, and abandoned housing." Mullins offers a look into doughnut production, marketing, and consumption. He confronts head-on the question of why we often paint doughnuts in moral terms, and shows how the seemingly simple food reveals deep and complex social conflicts over body image and class structure. In Mullins's hands, this simple pastry provides surprisingly compelling insights into our eating habits, our identity, and modern consumer culture.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the latest cultural-historical look at a beloved American foodstuff, anthropologist Mullins (Race and Affluence) offers a rather tangled explanation of the doughnut's origin, popularity and significance. Technically, the doughnut is probably Chinese in origin, though the Germans, French and Latin Americans also have valid claims; Mullins finds the 1669 Dutch recipe for "olie-koecken" most closely resembles today's beloved fried breakfast pastries. Mullins finds that for many immigrants arriving at Ellis Island, a jelly doughnut was the first food they tasted, permanently tying the pastry in new arrivals' minds to what it means to be American (though Canadians, who have a higher per capita rate of doughnut shops, may have a different opinion). Though occasionally subject to long-winded (largely pointless) academic digressions, Mullins' take on a much-maligned food is multifaceted and largely interesting. He introduces readers to the inventor of the doughnut hole, Captain Hanson Gregory, explores the traditional marriage of cops and doughnuts, looks at the brand loyalties of different demographics, and investigates the food's impact on public health with aplomb and curiosity. For those who can suffer the cravings, this makes a satisfying tour.
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Library Journal

Doughnuts have a surprisingly complex history. Although they are thought of as a relatively recent addition to our cuisine, "sweet fried pastries" first appeared in a cookbook in 1803. Mullins (Race and Affluence), an associate professor of anthropology, would have us believe that the fried, carb-packed treat is a "mirror into ourselves and society," complete with a strong connection to our childhood memories. The author makes a strong case for the importance of doughnuts in history, noting that "sit and sip" doughnut shops are social centers, doughnuts have consistently been successful in comforting those serving in wartime, and doughnut shops popularized the concept of drive-thru service. Mullins limits most of his discussion to big franchises (Krispy Kreme, Dunkin Donuts, Tim Hortons) and focuses mostly on America's fondness for fried dough. An entertaining book, though a bit repetitive; recommended for large public libraries.
—Elizabeth Rogers

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813032382
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publication date: 9/6/2008
  • Edition description: First
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 818,021
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Mullins, associate professor of anthropology at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, is the author of Race and Affluence: An Archaeology of African America and Consumer Culture.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 "The Church of Krispy Kreme" 9

2 Doughnut 101: A History of Doughnuts 27

3 Selling and Consuming the Doughnut 71

4 Doughnut Morals 117

Conclusion 165

Notes 169

Bibliography 191

Index 197

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Customer Reviews

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