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Krispy Kreme and the Archivist.

Readers of this journal might have noticed that when I want to lie some, I'll slip into using capitals. Astute readers may have also noticed that some of these lies have a backbone of truth to them, such as a party, or a market research gig. Today, to be confusing, I am presenting you with the Krispy Kreme Adventure, which, despite its capitals, is as true as I keep anything.

So.

Krispy Kreme, the American doughnut (from here on spelt donut) chain has arrived in Sydney. It opened some time in June, and national conscience suddenly became aware of the fact that they've been sucking back inferior donuts for years. At least, this is what occurred to J., who, running out the time in a decommissioned job with decreasing responsibilities and work, was so caught up in the donut like possibilities presented to him that he was using his Internet time to look at donuts online, and then print them out on the colour printer at work, and hand them around to his friends.

When shown the Krispy Kreme website, I was taken by the sheer variety of donuts that one could have, but I wasn't exactly drooling at the prospect. But, like I said, variety, and I didn't have to work on the weekend due to school holidays, so a trip up into Penrith for some donuts seemed like something to do. Perhaps I was caught up in J's excitement, or perhaps, and more likely, I'm one of those guys who is easily convinced to join any kind of road trip. And while I hesitate to use the term road trip for a thirty minute car drive, it was for donuts, and I don't think it's wrong for me to use the term.

Penrith, for those who don't live in Sydney, is the ass end of the city, where the endless sea of suburbia ends, and the Blue Mountains begin about fifteen minutes later. Despite this, there's a rather sizeable mini-metropolis existing out there, sprung up around Penrith Plaza, and the Penrith Leagues Club, and it are these things that mark it as the edge of Sydney. If you decide to push on up into the Blue Mountains, you'll find winding roads, still burnt trees, shitty little suburbs where people are trapped in a fashion bubble called 1992, and then you'll peak and run on out into the country, where places like Orange and Dubbo will appear in an endless stretch of yellow and dust, mapped out by the black lines of telephone wires.

(There will be folks that tell you that the country isn't all like this, and in fairness, it's not. But there's a drought turning the world out there brittle, and Australia becomes a naturally harsh and dry place the further you drive into it, so as snapshot descriptions go, I'll hang onto mine, thankyou very much.)

To reach Penrith from the centre of Sydney, all that is required is for the driver to drop onto the M4, and slowly push your car up into a hundred and thirty by the time you're past Blacktown. I'm not sure if J. (or, more likely, M., who was driving) did this, because by the time Saturday rolled around, we'd blown out from one car going to get donuts to a second, and when I hit the M4 just past Blacktown, I was doing the aforementioned one thirty. Despite this, I was overtaken by countless motorists, including one motorbike who decided he'd lean back and throw a wheelie at about a hundred and sixty, thus proving what kind of thrill-seeker he was.

The M4 skirts the edges of Sydney past Blacktown, and so on the view out there is mainly of yellow fields, cemeteries, one theme park and a university, leaving not much to do but speed. There was a craze a few years back, where kids would climb onto one of the overpasses with rocks, and toss them down into the oncoming traffic, punching them through the windshields of speeding motorists of all kinds. If I remember correctly, this resulted in one woman dying rather painfully, when two kids lifted this huge slab up and over the wall, and which took out the driver's half of the windshield. After that, the local government had a bit of newspaper pressure leveled at them when a flood of articles burst out, painting the M4 as a highway of death, where delinquent children manned the overpasses, taking people out even five minutes in a rain of stone throwing death. The end result, naturally, saw kids who had never thrown a thing over the pass decide that they would for a laugh, and saw some of the more creative ones toss a jar of acid into some poor sods car; the other part of the result was that the government put up wire fences, and now it's all safe for us speeding motorists, thank god.

The one and only Krispy Kreme store in Sydney is located across from Penrith Leagues Club. The Leagues club is what Sydney had instead of casinos, before they arrived a while back, and subsequently, you can still go in there and find a huge room dedicated to pokies. Pokies are big in Sydney: you'll find them in every local pub, RSL, Leagues club, and I reckon they're about as interesting as watching Big Brother or paint dry. The Penrith Leagues Club is also home to the Penrith Panthers, a local football team, and the club is known by the local moniker of Panthers, and has, despite the floor of pokies, become a bit of a family arena, with a floor dedicated to videogames, pool tables, and a TAB so that every member of the family can have something to do. There's also an aqua golf range out the back, where you can smack some golf balls out into a man made lake for no real purpose except to see how far you can get it. (But then I've never seen the point in golf, so I'm biased.) As a building itself, it's a big, dirty white building with a huge carpark, that, across from it, holds a McDonalds and now Krispy Kreme.

When I arrived at Krispy Kreme, there was a line stretching out the door. There was also a line at the drive-thru, which had been turned into a maze of metal railings that held at least twenty cars. J., M., and D. were already in line, and when C. and I arrived, we slipped in front of about ten people, but were still outside. Now, due to a streak a rationality in me, I believed that Krispy Kreme must have just opened, and that these people had been waiting with a bit of flawed logic for it to do so. But no. This was not the case.

Krispy Kreme is 24 hours. It never closes.

To jump ahead, slightly, I was there at Krispy Kreme and Panthers for about two hours, and the line, not once, disappeared. For the entire time I was there, it stretched out the door, and there was, at least, a twenty minute wait to get yourself some donuts if you went in on foot. I have no idea how long that line of cars had people waiting, but it never disappeared either. Now, facing this with the cold light of reality, I am forced to conclude that either a) the entire population of Penrith is hooked on Krispy Kreme in a global conspiracy that forces them to buy donuts every day, or b) people from all over Sydney are traveling to Krispy Kreme for donuts. Because I knew that five people traveled at least half an hour, I find myself leaning towards answer b.

D., caught up in the insanity in his own fashion, had brought his digital camera to take photos. He took photos of the line, and if it's possible, I'll whack one up here so that you can all have a looksee.

While waiting in the line, we came across two attractive girls with a helium can and some balloons. J. went to snag one for M., and was told that no, they were only for children, which I found a bit suspect. I'm not saying that these girls had something against two men in love and who want to share balloons, but... well, I'm fairly sure that had I shown up there with my girlfriend, I wanted a balloon, then they would have given me one while laughing and succumbing to the charm of grown adults wanting balloons to share their love. Their heterosexual love, that is. Now, as I said, I'm not saying we ran into small minded girls with a helium tank in the Krispy Kreme line at the edge of Sydney, but who doesn't give balloons out when it's their job?

There was also a clown. D. maintains that he was a street performer, but the whole colourful costume, the red nose, the unicycle, these things speak to me as the tools of a clown, not a street performer. It's a shame that this clown didn't set himself on fire or cut himself with his swords, but then I've always found the majority of clowns to be highly annoying and deserving of a good swift kicking.

About five minutes after the clown's arrival, we made it through the doors of the Krispy Kreme, where we could watch the endless procession of donuts being made, and dead eyed Krispy Kreme employees pulling out the donuts that didn't meet the standard. You know, those that didn't cook all the way through, or came out with syringes, rat heads, and in the shape of Jesus's caucasian face.

While standing in the line, we were given glazed donuts. Now, I've never had a glazed donut before, and in fact, believe that it is only Krispy Kreme that coats their donut so liberally with sugar in the country, and when the resulting blockage that is in my arteries from this glaze kills me in the years to come, will instruct my children to sue the entire corporation. My friends loved this glaze, but I've got to be honest and say it was a bit too much for me.

But at the time I was munching away on a donut, I noticed something else in Krispy Kreme: people were buying boxes of donuts. Not one, not two, and not with a cup of coffee. No. They were buying them in boxes, in trays, and they were buying them in pairs, or fours, or half a dozens, and then struggling out into the winter sunlight under the weight of their gains.

And when we reached the part where we could order our donuts, we too ordered boxes. I can only speak for myself, but I ordered a tray of the assorted donuts, which number twelve, because I wanted to try the flavours, and knew that I wouldn't be returning any time soon to partake in American Imperialism in the form of a donut chain. Of course, it should also be pointed out, that I hardly got to eat any of these, as after I returned home, a procession of people claiming to be deprived of good donuts have made their way through my kitchen like a plague of locusts brought forth by God himself. This God, I imagine, is waving a little American flag and wearing a Krispy Kreme t-shirt, and receives a kickback for doing what he does.

Taken collectively, I can honestly say that the five of us easily spent one hundred dollars.

To finish up this sordid little journey, I have this to offer: I ate one donut there, and then whacked them into the boot of my car, and went and hung around Panthers for two hours, playing videogames and pool. Then I drove home and had a donut. It had not diminished from being in the car for three hours. The following day, I ate another. Again, it had not diminished.

This morning, I ate the last donut.

It tasted exactly as the first one, three days prior. I think it's the glazing, but you can make of it what you will.

Comments

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norda
Jul. 14th, 2003 04:10 am (UTC)
I hold you in great esteem, so I will trust your opinion of these American-made doughnuts more than that of my fellow sugar-addicted Americans.

I have never eaten a Krispy Kreme donut. They make splendid railway coffee, however.

I always cringe when I read about the droughts.
benpeek
Jul. 14th, 2003 05:05 am (UTC)
well, i reckon you ought to give the donut a try 'fore you say no to it, y'know? but after eating one of those things, the many news articles i've seen that tell of the average american's battle with the bulge, became sorta clear to me...
mariness
Jul. 14th, 2003 05:25 am (UTC)
But were they warm?
The proper Krispy Kreme donut needs to be still warm, so that the sugar glaze is still soft and not yet crunchy. In fact, I highly recommend warming cooled down Krispy Kreme donuts in either the microwave or the toaster oven before eating them. (This is true only for the regular glazed donuts -- the other types do not need to be warmed.)

It also creates a dilemna, since, and let us be quite frank here, Krispy Kreme's coffee is not up to the level of the sheer perfection of Dunkin' Donuts coffee, and yet -- and yet -- no one, except apparently you, can deny the sheer perfection of the Krispy Kreme donut (particularly when compared to the rather greasy and overflavoured Dunkin' Donuts varieties), which leaves us poor office workers frantic, desperate, trying to decide which element this morning is most important: coffee perfection or donut perfection, leading to quarrels, office politics, surveys, and finally, hurt and saddened feelings.

Well, here in the States, anyway.
benpeek
Jul. 14th, 2003 06:39 am (UTC)
Re: But were they warm?
i didn't have the regular glazed ones. i had one in the line, and it was all hot and warm glaze and... well, it just wasn't my thing. everyone else in the line thought otherwise, but the glaze was a bit too much for me, which is why i think i enjoyed the jam/lemon/cream/apple filled donuts, which lacked glaze, somewhat more.

of course, i am sure those who were on this journey will be passed here soon, where they will sing the virtues of the glazed donut with you.

but, really, people don't form lines to get krispy kreme donuts in the states, do they?
andyhat
Jul. 14th, 2003 08:35 am (UTC)
Re: But were they warm?
In parts of the States where Krispy Kreme has been adequately established for some time (that is, the southeast), people don't form lines. However, when Krispy Kreme expands into new parts of the country (e.g. New York City), they definitely do have long lines.

I've never really understood it myself. I mean, Krispy Kreme donuts don't contain chocolate, so what's the point?
benpeek
Jul. 14th, 2003 05:58 pm (UTC)
Re: But were they warm?
geez... i mean... donuts, you know?

well, i guess you do know, since you don't understand it either. i'm beginning to think that krispy kreme is evil, and it shall join the elite franchise as evil gallery that starbucks and taco bell are in. (having recently expanded to sydney shores in the last five or so years.)
mariness
Jul. 14th, 2003 06:30 pm (UTC)
Re: But were they warm?
You clearly live in a culturally lost Krispy Kreme area.

Here, Krispy Kreme donuts do include one version with chocolate frosting, and another version with chocolate filling.

Painful though it is for me the chocolate addict to say, however, none of the chocolate Krispy Kremes reach the pinnacle of the original Krispy Kreme donut, served warm.
andyhat
Jul. 14th, 2003 06:57 pm (UTC)
Actually, I live in North Carolina. Admittedly, not Winston-Salem, NC (site of the original Krispy Kreme, and still their HQ), but Raleigh is close enough that they're easy to find. So I've had their glazed devil's food donuts and chocolate-frosted, but they're really nothing special; they're certainly not worth waiting in line for. The original glazed, warm, is definitely the best Krispy Kreme can do, but since it's not chocolate, it will never rank highly in the pantheon of desserts.
benpeek
Jul. 14th, 2003 09:08 pm (UTC)
do you realise you just admitted to knowing where the HQ and original Krispy Kreme is?

:)
mariness
Jul. 15th, 2003 05:06 am (UTC)
I apologize for the insinuation that you were in a Krispy Kreme cultural wasteland, then.

I've never been to their site in Winston-Salem, but I have been to the store in Cherokee, NC, which brings up an entirely different saga.

(Anonymous)
Jul. 14th, 2003 04:43 pm (UTC)
"Donuts. Donuts from Heaven"
In the latest Tenchu playstation game there is a bonus level set in the modern world. The bad guys are hugely overweight security guards who, upon being delivered to their final rest, gurgle the mantra, Donuts. Donuts from heaven. I now know that they are speaking of Krispy Kreme.


Ahhh Krispy Kreme. How do I love thee. Let me count the ways......*sigh*

Even the drinks were tasty. The coffee was a perfect accompaniment. The cool raspberry drink was sweet yet tart. And the donuts themselves...

I'm terrified by my love of these donuts. I thought one trip would be enough. I thought the distance would be too great, prove too vast a barrier for me to consider returning. But now I am not so sure.

I thought 4.5 dozen donuts would be enough. After my inital tasting I was a little sick. I gave a dozen to my mother to try, I forced them onto friends who wouldn't otherwise go near an American donut company with a barge pole. But now, after just 3 days, there are only 8 left and I hate my friends who so willingly took the donuts i offered. I wish I could say that I gave many of thse soft rings of sugar and fat away but it would be untrue my friends. Sadly, it is I who have been scoffing them uncontrollably.

In fact I am eating one as I sit here now, my favourite donut in fact - the cruller. A ridged donut generously coated in glaze. I think of it as the day after version of the fresh, original. Whilst that donut, fresh from the line, warm and soft and gooey, is indeed the greatest donut I have ever tasted, the Cruller being slightly thicker of dough and glaze manages to maintain a similar taste long after it has cooled down.

I am in love with the Cruller. I may try to deny it now but eventually I'll be leaving work early but getting home late, claiming I've been in the office when really I've been driving to see my betrothed, the Krispy Kreme store and indulging my nigh carnal appetite for those soft holes of dough and sugar.

My mother has a friend whose local donut business is suffering due to it's new competition. And whilst this economic turn horrifies me with regard to other US chains like McDonalds or Starbucks which I studiously avoid on principal, I find myself thinking of the donut industry as simply needing to lift it's game, that this latest cultural invasion is simply healthy competition.

Save yourselves friends. Go on without me for I am lost.


"Donuts. Donuts from heaven"
J
benpeek
Jul. 14th, 2003 06:02 pm (UTC)
Re: "Donuts. Donuts from Heaven"
my. god.

i almost can't believe you're going to ditch out of work. i tell myself it's a joke. a joke played on me. but... but i can't quite believe that.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 15th, 2003 05:41 pm (UTC)
Re: "Donuts. Donuts from Heaven"
This morning I consume a regular donut and a raspberry filled donut for breakfast/morning tea. Which makes a mockery of my morning's skipping. But I must not let them beat me.

And yes, days later the regular donut tastes exactly the same. The raspberry filling however tasted a litle more bitter than my original tasting on Sunday. But I find it hard to believe that so unnatural a substance could have changed in any way in just a few days.

5 Donuts left
benpeek
Jul. 16th, 2003 04:06 am (UTC)
Re: "Donuts. Donuts from Heaven"
do you ever feel that you'll die from eating the donuts, and that, when you decompose, what'll be left will be the donut?
(Anonymous)
Jul. 16th, 2003 05:06 pm (UTC)
Re: "Donuts. Donuts from Heaven"
Yes today I do feel like I'm going to die as a result of eating these donuts.

I took the unthinkable step of throwing one away yesterday however, as it was filled with mock cream. I hate mock cream

There are *hurgh* only 2 donuts *hurgh* left *hurgh*. Must eat. Must finish *hurgh*

If you don't hear from me tomorrow call an ambulance, I may have fallen into a diabetic coma.
benpeek
Jul. 16th, 2003 06:35 pm (UTC)
Re: "Donuts. Donuts from Heaven"
how about i just call in advance? prepare the donut pump, as they say.
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