This morning I find myself in Seattle and am sitting in Pike Place Market right now surfing on the abundant free wi-fi. Longtime readers know that I have a terrible peanut allergy which has plagued me for more than 25 years and it has prevented me from enjoying lots of gourmet and not-so-gourmet treats over the years. I was wandering around here looking for some food to absorb some of the excellent Monorail Espresso in my belly, when I spied a tiny fresh mini-donut place called "The Daily Dozen" that only had plain, powdered, and sprinkled donuts.
I haven't had a donut since 1982 and after talking with the donut chef, he said it was one of the only completely peanut free donut places in the country. So of course, I had to try them. Half a dozen with cinnamon sugar.
They come out hot and straight into a bag, then sprinkled with sugar and a final one tossed in the air, Pike Place-style. For me, hearing I hadn't had a donut in 27 years, he tossed in a couple extras. So when I took the first bite, a flood of emotions came with the perfect crunch and almost creamy interior.
I really don't feel sorry for myself not being able to eat certain things, because Lord knows, I eat plenty of great food, but all the sudden I felt deprived.
And then I realized what was going on. The last time I had a donut fresh from the oil that I can remember, was soon after my mother died, way back in the seventies, when we had an au-pair named Theresa, from Belgium, that would make beignets in the morning sometimes. The house would fill up with the scent of hot oil, yeast, and cinnamon. My brother and I just loved those mornings and it now I realize how smells like that can make a home feel like a home even after suffering such a loss as we had. Food in my life has always been about comfort, and I hope the food I make at home makes our home feel more solid and comforting to my kids. Who needs thearapy when sometimes all you really need is a perfectly fresh, hot donut?