Story by Roxanne Cooke
Doughnuts bring people together. Take Tacoma Tweet and Eat, for example. This group of locals gathers once a month for breakfast — and every so often for a social gathering they call a “doughnut-off.”
“Doughnuts always — to me — inspire conversation,” said Cassie Moore, one of the founding members of the group and a print buyer for Regence BlueShield. “Everyone loves a doughnut.”
Moore and her Twitter followers noticed they often visited the same local restaurants and bars, but never seemed to run into each other. As a way to meet in person and support local businesses, the group of online friends created Tacoma Tweet and Eat. Once a month, they meet for breakfast at a Tacoma-area restaurant or diner.
This past spring, Tacoma Tweet and Eat members decided to expand their gatherings and get together at a local coffee shop, with doughnuts for everyone to enjoy. A handful of people volunteered to bring doughnuts from area bakeries. Despite the name “doughnut-off,” there aren’t winners and losers — just lots of doughnut lovers and leftovers.
At their second doughnut-off in September, the group met again at Bluebeard Coffee Roasters on 6th Avenue in Tacoma. As more people showed up, more tables were pushed together. Doughnuts from Pao’s Donut & Coffee Shop, Le Donut, Dockside Donuts and House of Donuts were up for grabs.
Compared to the group’s monthly breakfasts, the doughnut-offs are a more casual and a lower-cost gathering, said Marisa Mezs, who works in financial aid for Pierce College. Also, the event allows you to try different varieties of doughnuts from different shops.
The group’s collective love of doughnuts doesn’t hurt, either. “Who doesn’t love a good doughnut?” Moore said.
Aside from the popular bacon maple bar, most doughnuts at the doughnut-off were traditional: raised glazed, maple bars, crullers, filled doughnuts and cake doughnuts with frosting.
Doughnuts haven’t changed much, despite newer, trendier desserts hitting the scene. How have they outlasted these other popular desserts, such as cupcakes?
Lynette Patterson, an auditor for Nordstrom, pointed out that there’s such a wide variety to choose from that there’s something for everyone.
Benjamin Toombs, who works in marketing for Bargreen Ellingson, suggested that it’s the price. Most individual doughnuts cost less than a dollar, and a dozen are typically less than $10.
“Nostalgia, maybe?” Patterson offered, recalling memories of her mother making homemade doughnuts.
Aaron Pedersen, a website designer and photographer, summed it up: “Fat and sugar, quite simply,” he said.
Roxanne Cooke is a freelance writer and photographer who shares her love of baking and local good eats on her blog, roxannecooke.com. She wrote and photographed this issue’s feature on South Sound doughnut shops. Roxanne lives in Tacoma with her husband and their two ridiculously adorable cats.
FUN DOUGHNUT FACTS
- “Doughnut Dollies” were female members of the Salvation Army who made and distributed doughnuts to frontline American soldiers overseas during World War II.
- About 10 billion donuts are made each year in the U.S.
- No one knows for certain but it was a sailor who claimed to have invented the holed doughnut in 1847 when his doughnut landed on the spoke of a steering wheel.
- June 1 is National Doughnut Day.
- Both “doughnut” and “donut” are accepted spellings by Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
- The average glazed doughnut has 200 calories. A bagel with cream cheese has 450.
- The Dutch are often credited with bringing doughnuts to the U.S. They were referred to as olykoeks, or oily cakes, in the 1800s.
- The largest doughnut ever weighed 7 tons. It was made in Utica, N.Y., in 1993.
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