Eat your heart out, Krispy Kreme

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On the “Daily Show” with Jon Stewart, John Oliver interviews the ambassador from Qatar and winds up asking him if he would eat a Jimmy Dean’s Sausage Stuffed Pancake.

“It’s just food,” the ambassador says with a sly smile.

I would beg to differ.

But I don’t get to add my two cents worth on this. My sister is talking to my daughter Betty on the phone and asks how I am getting along. Betty says, “Are you sitting down?” Sister: “As bad as that?” Betty: “You’re not going to believe this but . . . Mom ate a donut.” Gasp! Sister: “You’re kidding. No way.” Betty: “I couldn’t make this up. She ate the whole thing. Glazed, crème filled, all of it.”

It’s true. I met Betty at Rocky Mountain Roasting Company, our local coffee house and deli, in preparation for a long trek down Main Street to check out sales and art galleries. When I get there, Betty already has her coffee, so I order my latte and am considering a low fat muffin. And then I see it. A whole pan of fresh donuts: chocolate, cake, jelly, cinnamon twists. I haven’t eaten a donut since Krispy Kreme opened a store in Bakersfield with a drive-through window. One day, I was starving and thought I should just check it out to see what all the fuss was about. That was probably 10 years ago and once was enough. Krispy Kreme wasn’t crisp at all. It was your basic squishy, pasty, greasy, sugar-coated artery clogger. I vowed: Never again.

But here I was, faced with a long morning of trudging the pavement and this platter of beautifully fresh pastries that I’m sure were handmade at On The Rise, my favorite boulangerie. I caved and pointed with trepidation at a round glazed ball, no hole in the middle, crème-filled wonder still warm from the oven. The aroma was heavenly, the temptation undeniable.

I return to the table with the latte and the donut clutched in a little waxed bag. Betty does a double take. “Mom. I can’t believe you bought that.”

I understand her shock. Aside from my one adventure with Krispy Kreme, it’s been about 30 years since deep fried batter of any kind has crossed my lips.

When I lived in Hidden Hills, Xanadu Bakery was practically across the street. I fell in love with their flaky croissants, made with real butter and filled with almond paste. Just like Paris. Soon after I moved to Malibu, Xanadu followed me, but the croissants weren’t the same. That made it easy for me to break a habit that was surely raising my cholesterol and adding to my girth.

I became known as the family health nut. Not exactly vegan, but irritating nonetheless. Checking nutrition labels for saturated fat, sodium and sugar content. Buying only organic versions of the fruits and vegetables known as the dirty dozen (those most likely to be laden with pesticide residue). I had years before vowed never to eat hot dogs, hamburgers and lunchmeats preserved with nitrates (or nitrites, I always forget which). When I stopped training horses my cholesterol sneaked up a little (during the decade of daily croissants) so I cut back on eggs and cheese. No sweat about that, but in my heart, or stomach, I still craved the perfect pastry. When Champagne opened at Colony Plaza, I stopped by for their special custard- filled croissant called Jesuit. Good thing I no longer lived close by. It was probably a blessing for my arteries that Champagne closed.

You see, it isn’t just a sweet tooth I’m dealing with. I’d starve to death before I’d eat a Twinkie.

So I cheered the news that dark chocolate (in discreet amounts) is actually good for one’s blood. That eased my conscience considerably. Newman’s Own Espresso and orange- flavored chocolate bars, Organic, no less, took the shelf space once shared by Godiva and Swiss chocolate-covered marzipan.

Anyway, when in Bozeman, I’m living in a residence hotel where the food is excellent but I dare not ask what it’s made of. The community co-op sells organic fruit and hearty breads for my breakfasts, Newman’s chocolate bars and cookies for midnight snacks. On The Rise bakes great breads and cakes but there simply isn’t any real French or Viennese pastry in town.

So when I saw those donuts, something inside me just flipped. To Betty’s amazement, I took my prize out of the wax bag, fondled it, smelled it and took a small bite. The filling was not faux cream á la Winchell’s and Dunkin’ Donuts. It was pure butter and egg crème patissier. No way was this gem fried in hydrogenated oil.

Problem is now I know it’s there, at the coffee house just down the hill. I could go there, well, just once a week. Indulge my fantasy with a real cream-filled, trans fat free-donut. Perhaps I won’t tell Betty, or my sister. But maybe I should hike there and back.