My post in the Annapolis Capital Gazette last week drew many comments to my email and maybe even letters to the editor, which surprised me, but shouldn’t have.
Most complained that I missed three particularly popular local doughnut spots that have been around for forever. The truth is that I didn’t “miss” them, as in ignore or spurn them. It’s more complicated than that.
Firstly, my editor who is a great guy in general but rather persnickety on some things–like how wordy I am–tells me I have only 1000 words, including recipes, at my disposal each week. That’s a killer. If you write, you know what I’m sayin’. If you don’t, just sympathize. I can’t just dispose with my words. They are mine, they came from my brain and my heart. But at 1000 words, I have to choose each one carefully. That’s hard and disheartening and brutal. (JK-it’s actually quite fun and I love it and that’s why writing rocks!)
Secondly, if I was to write about everybody in town, I wouldn’t be able to actually say very much. It would have to be generic along the lines of:
“Suzy makes doughnuts and has for X years. They are great, go see her, her address is Y.”
That’s not my gig.
I like the backstory…the details…the little facts and figures that make a doughnut into, well….a story!
Thirdly, all places mentioned in the many complaints don’t make HANDMADE doughnuts. Yes, they make the dough and they cut it and fry it and sugar it up. But the dough is made from a manufactured doughnut mix that is ordered from a factory in huge gigantic bags that each lists a long paragraph of preservatives, chemical conditioners and sometimes artificial colors. “Flour” is somewhere on that list, but you have to search for it. On a smaller scale, it’s like making cake from a box. And I was foraging for homemade doughnuts.
Why? While most of my newspaper readers may not be as concerned with whole, fresh foods as I am, that is in fact my raison d’etre and may in fact be one reason you are here on this poorly maintained but much loved blog, reading this wordy post. AND in all honesty, I wanted a solid pastry lesson and you can’t learn anything when the only instructions are add water, let rise, fry and glaze while hot.
I really want to make exceptional doughnuts here in my home, and I wanted to see if anyone in Anne Arundel County was doing that large scale, and that is what I went foraging for. Turns out that (let me qualify so folks don’t get all pissy: AS FAR AS I HAVE HEARD OR FOUND) outside of some homes and churches, there is one guy making bespoke doughnuts (I resist that word since it is used so prolifically by snobby writers and editors. Be-Spoke- is this the wheels of a bike or a word that shouldn’t have been spoken?) and that is Ted Levitt at Chick & Ruth’s Delly in downtown Annapolis.
Now, in the spirit of fairness, I will say that the first stop in my foraging endeavor was The Donut Shack in Severna Park. I loved my visit there. Truly loved it. I did discover that they aren’t making doughnuts from scratch, but that didn’t deter from the fact that I loved the feeling of the shop, I absolutely loved the two hours I spent with Bill Prevezanos and I will go back there, more often then necessary or appropriate, for some awesome, awesome doughnuts. For those reasons, I did include him in the article. The man has been making doughnuts 6 days a week for 28 years without a vacation for Gawd’s sake! He deserves some press just for how clean that place is! He runs a tight ship over there! And check out those retro stools and the formica. He doesn’t have them because he had an interior decorator–he just likes them. He’s a classic!
AND SO all you agitated Anne Arundel County doughnut lovers, I will definitely be making a trip to those other doughnut shops soon and I promise to hash out the deeper stories and little facts you may not already know about (yes, I know: they are sisters, they have been at it for decades, they have two shops now, it’s a family enterprise…I’m going to get more than that!) I have at least 4 other places to visit, all across the county, so this may take some time, but I will get on it ASAP.Feel free to share...