Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Glazed America: Anthropologist Examines Doughnut As Symbol Of Consumer Culture

Date:
July 28, 2008
Source:
Indiana University
Summary:
Few things say as much about our culture as the food we eat. An anthropologist explores the development of America's consumer culture through our relationship with the doughnut, beloved by many, and a symbol of temptation and unhealthiness to others.

Few things say as much about our culture as the food we eat. A new book, Glazed America: A History of the Doughnut by Paul R. Mullins, Ph.D., an Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis anthropologist, explores the development of America's consumer culture through our relationship with the doughnut, beloved by many, a symbol of temptation and unhealthiness to others.

Sometime in prehistory someone dropped flour into oil and the ancestor of the doughnut was born. Since that time every culture has fried flour and many have added something sweet to the dough.

Dr. Mullins traces the arrival of the modern doughnut to American shores to the early 18th century when the Dutch pastry, olykoek, began to appear in New York and other cities. The first cookbook mentioning doughnuts was an 1803 English volume which included doughnuts in an appendix of American recipes. By the mid-19th century the doughnut looked and tasted like today's doughnut and was viewed as a thoroughly American food.

Like the automobile, automation came to the doughnut in the early 20th century. During the 1920's machines began to make doughnuts in bulk -- producing tons and tons of fragrant doughnuts at a low cost to consumers. Unlike bagels, whose manufacture was closely controlled by unions, the mass produced doughnut spread rapidly across the United States, becoming the staple of both mom-and-pop establishments, regional outlets and national chain doughnut shops (Krispy Kreme opened in 1937 and Dunkin Donuts in 1950).

Over the past quarter century doughnuts have survived onslaughts from competing foods, including the bagel and muffin, and from anti-carbohydrate diets. The most damaging attack has come from the health community concerned about the food's contribution to the nation's rising obesity rates. Yet doughnuts remain popular and doughnut chains are expanding.

Doughnuts have always elicited strong feelings among Americans, says Dr. Mullins. "Americans don't sit on the fence -- they either love doughnuts or they don't. You just can't say the same thing about lettuce or tomatoes or salt, all of which also have interesting cultural symbolism."

Glazed America: A History of the Doughnut is published by University Press of Florida. Author Mullins is an associate professor and the chair of anthropology at IUPUI. His research focuses on material culture and he also has been engaged in a long-term study of race and racism in Indianapolis' near-Westside.

Dr. Mullins enjoys his doughnuts at an Indianapolis mom and pop shop which has been serving up the fried dough delicacies for 55 years. He is an avid runner who logs approximately 45 miles per week, often past his favorite doughnut shop.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Indiana University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Indiana University. "Glazed America: Anthropologist Examines Doughnut As Symbol Of Consumer Culture." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080721152000.htm>.
Indiana University. (2008, July 28). Glazed America: Anthropologist Examines Doughnut As Symbol Of Consumer Culture. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080721152000.htm
Indiana University. "Glazed America: Anthropologist Examines Doughnut As Symbol Of Consumer Culture." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080721152000.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Fossils & Ruins News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) Canadian scientists looking into the very first land animals took a fish out of water and forced it to walk. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) An international team uncovered a large ancient wine celler that likely belonged to a Cannonite ruler. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
40,000-Year-Old Mammoth Skeleton Found On Texas Farm

40,000-Year-Old Mammoth Skeleton Found On Texas Farm

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A mammoth skeleton was discovered in a gravel pit on Wayne McEwen's Texas farm back in May. It's now being donated to a museum. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pawn Shop Buys Lincoln Signature For $50, Worth $50,000

Pawn Shop Buys Lincoln Signature For $50, Worth $50,000

Newsy (Aug. 25, 2014) The signature is one of a couple Lincoln autographs that have popped up recently. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins