Sunday, October 01, 2006


inspired by Neil's latest post.

We all know there are many things that influence who and what we become in life. That being said, I must confess, that the donut has played an important roll, oops, I mean role, in my life.

From the time I was a tiny girl, I can remember my grandpa giving me this advice:

"As you go through life, keep your eye on the donut, and not on the hole".

For years I wondered what this meant. I liked the sound of it. Afterall, what could be better than being told to look at donuts?

Well, in my estimation, being told to eat them would have been better.

But I accepted this sagely advice and went about my life.

I spent the first five years of my life in Inglewood, California. Some of you may know this as the original home of the Laker's (the Forum), but what you may not know is that Inglewood is the home of Randy's Donut's.

I always thought it was amazing that a donut shop had been erected in my hometown and named just for me. But I could never understand why they didn't spell it correctly (you know, with an "i"). When I was five, we moved to the San Fernando Valley. I never had a Randy's donut in those five years, and never have since.

The years went by, and Winchell's donuts became the consummate donut of choice. It was at Winchell's, that I would learn to truly love and respect the glazed donut.

In high school, as I have mentioned in a previous post, Westwood was the place to be, and many Friday and Saturday nights were spent leaning at the counter of Stan's donuts.

In my college years, I would master and perfect the art of donut eating. Going away to college was eye opening to say the least. You are afforded a new independence that extends to all levels of your of those, of course, the independence to eat whatever foods you so desire.

No longer could my mother tell me what to eat, how to eat, and when to eat.

And what better way for a 19 year old to manifest that independence than to eat donuts? (None, I dare say).

So, thus began my journey on the road of differentiation. In order to strike out, and be different from the generation before me, I knew I would have to eat donuts.

One might think that one donut a day would be enough to achieve this goal. But noooo...I would begin each morning of my college career with not one, but FOUR glorious donuts.

Yes, it's true. (oh...maybe that's why I had packed on an extra 20 pounds by the end of senior year).

When college was over, I moved back to West L.A. into a tiny apartment that was coincidentally (yeah, right) within walking distance to, you guessed it, a donut shop. Arlene's donuts. The most amazing donuts this side of the Mississippi.

It was there that I would learn about inner strength and control. I learned that it was possible to eat one donut a day, and still enjoy the independence necessary to differentiate from the generation before me.

(Arlene's donuts has since been torn down, and resurrected as none other than...Starbuck's)

I was beginning to understand the lesson my grandpa was trying to teach me, all those many years ago.

Imagine my confusion, though, when the donut "hole" was invented. Which was I to keep my eye on now?

As the years sped by, my donut intake would lesson. Diet fads would come and go as quickly as first dates...leaving me no choice but to dump the donut. No fat, low carbohydrate, no sugar, protein only...all of these were to leave no room for the donut.

But in my 30's all that would change. With the birth of my sons, the donut would re-enter my life.

For those of you who have children, you know that a sporting event, a birthday sleepover, or just a plain old Sunday morning, is not complete without donuts.

When my children were old enough, we began a tradition. I would take them to the local donut shop (as good as Arlene's by the way) the first and last day of school as a celebration of sorts...a rite of passage, if you will.

As we sat and indulged in our donuts, I would gently pass on the sagely words of my grandfather. I did not take this responsibility lightly.

It is a rare occasion today, when I actually indulge in a donut. But I stick with the donut that got me through those tender early years of life. The donut that taught me the lessons my grandpa so wanted me to embrace.

The glazed donut was and will always be the donut of my life.

And, I now know what my Grandpa's advice was all about.

He knew that to get through life, you must remain focused on what's real, solid, and not full of "air".

I suppose, that without really knowing it...I did just that. I've never been one for flighty dreams, or unrealistic thoughts. Some may call that boring. I call it down-to-earth. Some may call it unimaginative. I call it matter-of-fact.

Because I kept my eye on the donut, I attained much of what I had set out to achieve. That's not to say that life is not without it's ups and downs (some more down than up).

But I have figured out what's "real", and that's where I focus myself. My heart and soul center around my family, my work, and all that is real.

And that is my "donut" these days.

Now, if you'll excuse me, all this talk of donuts has made me hungry.

Think I'll go eat a...



Post-Denom Jew said...

"Is there anything a donut can't do/"

-Homer Simpson

Head over heel said...

Beautiful story. I've got to know donuts when I moved to the States. I love them but please only glaced...and the best ones are the ones from "Krispy Kreme"....the car line was sometimes up to a half a mile long when the "hot donuts" sign was lighten....

Sizewise I am happy it does not have a donut shop anywhere near!!!Except the ones from Starbucks....yickes!!!

marallyn ben moshe said...

i remember'd think a country like israel would have donuts and corned beef sandwiches...we did for about a second and a half...and then allllllllll gone...of course during channukah the donuts are out again, but not like real donuts...take a bite for me...thanks you're a friend...stay safe...great blog

Val said...

Beautifully written. I may not look at donuts in the same way again!

Wendy said...

Very insightful, thought provoking and hunger-inducing post. Thanks.

And by the way, we have a new donut phenomenon around here: The Fractured Prune has taken hold - these are hot, made to order yellow cake doughnuts. You can choose from 10 toppings and 15 glazes. Did I mention they were hot and fried to order? OH MY!

kasamba said...

Oh Crusin, only you could turn the humble donut into prose!

How bashert- someone just asked me today to try to eat a donut without licking my lips... is it possible?

I always tell the people I write speeches for that the same way the hole of the donut defines the donut is the way a speech is only a speech because of the pauses- otherwise it becomes a longrunonsentence!

Neil said...

You've made the humble donut into something heroic!

cruisin-mom said...

mfd: doh!

HOH: Thanks...krispey kremes are good, but not favorite.

MBM: I will take a lot of bites for you! Don't worry, Hanukah will be here soon.

Val: so glad you stopped by. THanks for such a sweet comment.

Wendy: I checked that out...Yikes, dangerous! But, not so sure about that name...I don't want to think about prunes when I'm indulging in donuts.

kasamba: you crack me up :)

Neil: "the heroic donut" there's a name for a franchise...

cheated are the clouds said...

Who Knew the food with the whole could be so wise and hold so many stories, Cruisin this is awesome, i absolutely loved reading this, but really who knew, not I

Unknown said...

KRISPY KREME!!!! Gotta get a Krispy Kreme glazed donut.

Unknown said...

(Sorry. I'm going to Balto this weekend, and that's where KK is.)

I want to be in LA. :(

cruisin-mom said...

catc: you are so sweet, thanks. And you're right...who knew?!

Ezzie: eat a dozen for me...wish you were coming here too :(

... Is the Window to Our Soul said...

I have to admit about a few months ago, I went through a Entemanns Chocolate donut phase. I was buying a box every other day and finishing almost all of them myself. Thankfully, I got it out of my system.

I am not much of a donut fan, BUT wouldn't it be cool if Edy's partnered with Entemanns or one of the other Donut kings and created an icecream with donuts in it. YUMMY!

Btw, have you ever heard of the Fractured Prune? They just opened one near where I live - you create them and they make them. Interesting concept.

... Is the Window to Our Soul said...

oops...just scanned up and saw Wendy's comment. Great minds think alike! ; )

cruisin-mom said...

S.T.: that's funny you mentioned fractured prune, too! What is Edy's?...whatever it is...I like that combo of icecream and donuts :)

... Is the Window to Our Soul said...

One of the best tasting ice creams,of course!

Wishing I was a said...

I remember one particular New Years Eve with Uncle Perry, toasting in the new year with warm glazed donuts from Winchells! Now a days, I could exist on glazed cinnamon crumb donut "holes" for the rest of my life.....and forget about keeping my eye on what's my disappearing waistline!

Mia said...

Well in Europe Donuts were introduced to us by McDonalds.... you can imagine....

I think the only time I actually bought them was when we couldn´t find any sufganiot on Channuka...

cruisin-mom said...

Mia: donuts by McDonald's...oy, scary

... Is the Window to Our Soul said...

What's scarier than McDonalds and doughnuts is McDonalds and Bagels.

I finally tasted the doughnuts at the Fractured Prune... OMG...Delicious and totally addictive!

cruisin-mom said...

S.T.: I think Mcdonald's, bagels, and lox would even top that!!!

Michael said...

Finally. My mentor has been using this phrase since I first came to West Point (almost four years ago) and now I finally know what it means. I loved your explanation, thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have lived In West L..A. all my life My Dad was the donut baker at Arlene's donut shop from1968 till It closed the best donuts ever awesome memories!

cruisin-mom said...

Oh my gosh Susie....thank you for leaving this comment. I will never forget those donuts! What a gift your dad had in baking the best donuts! Thank you for sharing this. (Arlene's, as you probably know, now a Starbucks)