A short essay from Haruki Murakami’s Murakami Radio.
This one’s about donuts. You should consider skipping this if you’re on a serious diet. There’s no getting around it: we’re talking donuts.
I don’t like sweet things much, but donuts are the one exception. From time to time I’ll get a random urge to eat them. Why? I’ve given it some thought. In our modern society, donuts aren’t simply a fried treat with a hole in the middle. They synthesize and sublimate various aspects of our world into a ring shape though a process known as donutification. Or, to put it simply, I like donuts.
I’d often grab a donut before heading to school when I was a writer in residence at Tufts University just outside of Boston. I’d pull up to the Summerville Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot on my way to campus, order two classic donuts, have them fill up my little thermos with hot coffee, and walk into my office carrying the paper Dunkin’ bag. For half the day I’d drink my coffee and eat my donuts as I sat at my desk reading books, writing, and talking to students who’d stopped by. On days I was hungry I’d munch on my donuts while I was still in my car. That’s why there were always crumbs all over the floor of my Volkswagen Corrado. I’m embarrassed to say there were coffee stains on the seats too.
By the way, do you know who invented the donut hole? Not many people know. But I do! Donut holes first appeared in 1847, in the small town of Camden, Maine. 15 year old Hansen Gregory was a trainee at a local bakery. The store did lots of frying but it was inefficient because it look a long time for the heat to get to the middle of the dough. Seeing that, Hansen tried poking a hole in the middle figuring it would heat up much quicker. That sped up the cooking time, and in addition to giving it a curious wheel-like shape, it make it crispy, delicious, and easy to eat.
“Hey! Do-nut mess around, Hansen!” his boss yelled (sorry for the bad joke).
“Um, sir, it’s actually not that bad,” Hansen replied.
And thus the donut was born. I know, you can never trust these stories, and if someone told me their similarly perfect original story I’d want to defend the one I believed in. But look, I read this in a book, it seems legitimate.
Be it the color, or the smell, or the crispy texture, donuts are full of the power to do good. The power to raise the spirits of those who eat them. So let’s eat donut after donut and feel full of life! Can’t that diet wait until tomorrow?