There is no denying the simple joys of learning a whole lot about a seemingly inane topic. Doughnut’s, for example, are such a simple part of life that thinking beyond there roll as breakfast foods, or perhaps that New England juggernaut that is Dunkin’ Donuts, seems a bit silly. Not so, for as Paul Mullins finds the Doughnut tells us a hell of a lot about America. His book, Glazed America, is out from University Press of Florida.

“Everybody loves a good doughnut. The magic combination of soft dough, hot oil, and sugar coating–with or without sprinkles–inspires a wide range of surprisingly powerful memories and cravings. Yet we are embarrassed by our desire; the favorite food of Homer Simpson, caricatured as the dietary cornerstone of cops, a symbol of our collective descent into obesity, doughnuts are, in the words of one California consumer, a “food of shame.”

Paul Mullins turns his attention to the simple doughnut in order to learn more about North American culture and society. Both a breakfast staple and a snack to eat any time of day or night, doughnuts cross lines of gender, class, and race like no other food item. Favorite doughnut shops that were once neighborhood institutions remain unchanged–even as their surrounding neighborhoods have morphed into strip clubs, empty lots, and abandoned housing.

Blending solid scholarship with humorous insights, Mullins offers a look into doughnut production, marketing, and consumption. He confronts head-on the question of why we often paint doughnuts in moral terms, and shows how the seemingly simple food reveals deep and complex social conflicts over body image and class structure.”

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