On Sunday morning at 2 a.m. I found myself – in my formal black dress from Kick-Off – standing in line at a grocery store with a package of donuts in each hand, contemplating how ludicrous I must seem and how I came to be buying donuts at such an hour.
As my family and friends can attest, my appetite for donuts is perhaps best described as “voracious” and “bordering on addiction.” For me, donuts transcend small, usually ring-shaped cakes fried in fat, entering more into the realm of what Urban Dictionary lists as “food of the gods.”
I’m only half joking here. While I love many types of food, donuts arouse in me the sort of nostalgia normally felt when thinking about a mother’s cooking. Despite being unhealthy and of inferior quality when compared to homemade food, donuts appeal to me in many ways.
They’re delicious comfort food that’s available just about anywhere. But they’re also a reminder of the one who got me addicted in the first place: my grandpa.
For at least ten years, Pa (as I refer to him) took all us grandchildren out each Saturday for a sugary breakfast, followed by time to talk and play with cousins, take dance lessons and make trips to libraries, airplane shows and art museums.
Even after Pa became too ill to drive us all into town, “donuts” continued as my eldest brother took over the driving. Once Sam went off to college and even riding in a car became too difficult for Pa, we reversed the process, buying the donuts on our own and bringing them to him instead.
Now that Pa is gone and we grandchildren have dispersed and are too busy to get together, there are no more official Saturday trips. Despite this, my now-instinctive weekly hankering for donuts continues.
I’ve discovered that these cravings are best satisfied by making donuts my junk food of choice when sneaking food into movie theaters or going on late-night food runs like the one this past weekend. These instances create new memories of time spent with others, indulging in this cheap but wonderful food.
Such traditions have become important to me. Although part of the attraction is obviously due to my sweet tooth, I like to think that it is the act of sharing and enjoying with others that is my true motivation. I know if I ever have grandchildren of my own to spoil, they’ll definitely be eating donuts.
Tillie Yoder is a first-year interdisciplinary English, sociology and history major from London, Ohio.