The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Enid Features

May 27, 2014

Celebrate National Doughnut Month

June is National Doughnut Month.  

I don’t know who decided that, or even where I read it, but I think it is a great idea.

I remember when I was a kid and we did doughnuts on rainy days. We would play in the huge hay barn while it was raining. (Remember rain?) We would find hen’s nests hidden in spaces between bales of hay. Sometimes we found rotten eggs hidden where a nest was disturbed.  

Daddy put ropes across the 4-by-4 that supported the barn and made swings for us to swing on. Those supports were pretty high, so we could swing really high with them.  

We played hide-and-go-seek in the different parts of the barn. I knew every nook and hiding place, because I helped build that barn. When I was about 3 years old, we moved to the place I always called home. One of the first tasks after we got settled in was to build a barn. The bottom was native rock, and from the rafters up was tin. I am sure I was more in the road than any help, but I got to put rocks on after Daddy spread the cement. I always picked the small pretty ones, and then Daddy would have to fit others around it. It would have gone much faster if I were not there, but there is nothing that  makes a kid feel more important than to help build something for posterity. That barn is still standing after nearly 80 years, and I can show you exactly where my rocks are.

But back to the playing in the barn. Now I know that we played in the barn so Mother could get her housework done without seven kids underfoot, but back then I thought we did it just for joy and entertainment. When it stopped raining or we got through with our play, we went to the house and made doughnuts.  

The doughnuts were made in assembly line. Mother, with our help, made the dough and we got to help cut. Mother always placed them in the hot fat so we would not get burned. She watched that pot carefully, and luckily, none of us ever got splattered with grease. When Mother removed the cooked doughnuts from the kettle, she placed them on a brown paper bag. (This was before paper towels.) When they had cooled enough, we took turns dipping them in a sugar/cinnamon mixture. I guess we ate them as we coated them as I don’t remember that we ever had a huge platter of them to serve. The “holes” were ever bit as delicious as the doughnuts themselves.

When Jim and my brother used to ride pastures all day checking cattle, Mother would make a batch of doughnuts for them when they came in from work. Those two men could eat an entire batch all by themselves, holes and all! She loved to make doughnuts and she had an appreciative audience. She never disappointed. And Bill and Jim looked forward to the treat at the end of a hard day’s ride. Doughnuts and a cold glass of milk are mighty hard to beat.

As the years went by, we made doughnuts often. They became almost a staple on Sunday evenings. After a huge Sunday dinner of chicken or roast or ham with all the trimmings, we usually were not really hungry. But one can always eat doughnuts even if they aren’t hungry.

I remember my little sister called them “dough bits,” so that label stuck and we still call them that when we get together at a family reunion or get-together. Funny how names stick when a small child coins a name like “ruffles” for waffles, or “cream cone cone” for ice cream.

Sometimes, Mother made “catfish.” Where we got that name, I don’t know, but that’s what we always called the doughnut dough flattened out in a circle about four or five inches and filled with apricots or apples that had been cooked and sweetened and made into a thick jam. Then we folded the dough over and made a half circle and crimped the edges and fried them. Oh my, they were delicious.

My sister in Albuquerque brought us some home-dried apples last summer, and I made “catfish” for old times sake. They brought back many wonderful memories (and many calories!).

Making doughnuts is almost  unheard of these days as we have so many wonderful places in town that make fresh, delicious doughnuts. One can purchase one doughnut or a dozen or more. Enjoying doughnuts is quite common in many offices for a mid-morning snack with coffee. None of us have to go hungry for those treats now.  

My grandma made applesauce doughnuts almost every time I visited them. We always took some in our lunch to school the next day along with a boiled egg and a biscuit sandwich with sausage and a dill pickle. Looking back, I am sure that it was what they had on hand, but to me, it was a heavenly treat. I could hardly wait until noon and often sampled lunch at first recess.  

I ask Jim if he remembered doughnuts when he was a kid, and he doesn’t. His first knowledge of doughnuts was in the Marines. He never went to USO shows or hangouts, but some dougnnuts were brought to them at special times.

Many times, we made raised yeast doughnuts, dipping them in confectioners sugar mixed with warm water to make a glaze. Those take a long time but are wonderful. I make them now if I have time and young helpers to entertain and teach them. But most of the time, I make the quicker kind like these:

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