The Donut Chef

Over a very large and expansive tasting of organic, vegan doughnuts at The Ferry Plaza in San Francisco, I met a delightful young lady named Emi, aged five. She was very helpful in tasting Pepple’s Blueberry doughnut. It was all that much more appropriate for while we were noshing and chatting about the qualities of her doughnut, her father told me that Emi’s favorite book at the moment is called Donut Chef.

So I got myself to the library — as I don’t normally read children’s book — and checkout out this oversized picture book. Written and illustrated by Bob Staake, a graphic designer and illustrator who as well as doing work for everything from The New Yorker to Mad Magazine, writes children’s books of some renown. And I must say that Donut Chef is more than a book for children, this is one that adults will certainly get a huge chuckle from; especially food-obsessed fanatics who have witness the progression of haute cuisine and obscure and bizarre flavor models.

The book tells the story of two rival doughnut makers who continually try and one-up each other with their fantastic concoctions and intricate flavors, but poetically, it is written in heroic couplets of Iambic Tetrameter, with the first and third lines being acephalous, i.e. lacking the syllable of the initial foot, beginning thusly:

Once upon a summer’s day
A donut chef was heard to say:
“On this street where people stop,
I’ll open up my donut shop!”
The store was cozy, made of brick.
He got it ready super-quick!
He washed the walls, he swept the floors,
He hung a sign above the doors!

The story commences quite delightfully, but I do take exception at what might be considered a minor error, but for me is a bit more glaring. To commence his doughnut production, we read the following:

That donut chef, he worked so hard
By mixing flour, sugar, lard.
He baked his donuts fresh at daw,
Then hoped by noon they’d all be gone!

Well, as anyone who has been following this blog knows, doughnuts are FRIED. How would it sound to be the Baked Dough Ho? It just is not the same and while I commend Mr. Staake for his wit and delightful illustrations, there is a tragic misnomer in instructing children to believe that doughnuts are baked. Baked dough are cupcakes or cookies or madeleines or macarons, but they are not doughnuts. It is still a great book though and one I can heartily recommend.

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