The History of Donuts: A Mardi Gras Celebration with Michael Krondl

The History of Donuts: A Mardi Gras Celebration with Michael Krondl


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From holy morsel to hipster icon, the donut has played an outsized role in religion, national identity, society, and even diplomacy. We will explore the historical and social contributions donuts have made from the trenches of World War I to California strip malls. Join us for a Mardi Gras celebration with author Michael Krondl.
Donuts have long been associated with Mardi Gras across Catholic Europe: it is not called “Fat Tuesday” for nothing! But that's hardly the only celebratory role of this deep-fried treat: Jews mark Hanukkah with various fritters, and in many Muslim traditions, Ramadan is a time to gorge on sweet fried dough. Historically, donuts have been a special-occasion food in other contexts as well. The 1814 Congress of Vienna featured millions of Krapfen (jelly donuts), and during the US Civil War, New England soldiers were sent off with baskets of crullers and fry-cakes. During the world wars, American GIs longed for donuts, nostalgic memories of home. Meanwhile, back in America, the Salvation Army used the torus-shaped pastries as a calling card. At the same time, the iconic relationship between American police officers and donuts was born. In the context of the USA, the holy donut of religious tradition was transformed into an everyday snack for the masses and is still enjoyed as such today. More recently, the donut has earned its place as a hipster icon, elevated and revered by sophisticated foodies.
Led by an expert on the social history of dessert, Michael Krondl, this interactive seminar will delve into the roles that donuts have played in societies worldwide. Designed to inform curiosity and future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of how seemingly insignificant foods can have a significant impact, whether in Vienna or Vancouver.

Author Michael Krondl writes about food and history. He has penned several books, including The Taste of Conquest: The Rise and Fall of the Three Great Cities of Spices and Sweet Invention: A History of Dessert among others. He has edited and contributed to several Oxford University Press volumes on food and culture, including The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets. He teaches at the New School and the City University of New York and has lectured at multiple venues including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian, and San Francisco’s Exploratorium.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
50%
(2)
25%
(1)
0%
(0)
25%
(1)
0%
(0)
A
A.

Guest did not leave comment

T
T.

Such a great conversation on what would initially seem to be a simple subject. The connection of donuts to the World Wars was so interesting as was the entire evolution of the donut in US society.

L
L.H.
Not about Mardi Gras - but interesting all the same!

Slightly hesitant delivery and a slow start, but this developed into a really interesting overview of the donut throughout US history. I signed up because of the Mardi Gras link - which wasn't really covered at all. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this Conversation and learned a lot about the humble donut's surprisingly involved social and culinary history.

B
B.g.
Only ok

Donuts covered adequately. Link to Mardi Gras only marginal.
Seemed more a marketing tool.

Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
50%
(2)
25%
(1)
0%
(0)
25%
(1)
0%
(0)
A
A.

Guest did not leave comment

T
T.

Such a great conversation on what would initially seem to be a simple subject. The connection of donuts to the World Wars was so interesting as was the entire evolution of the donut in US society.

L
L.H.
Not about Mardi Gras - but interesting all the same!

Slightly hesitant delivery and a slow start, but this developed into a really interesting overview of the donut throughout US history. I signed up because of the Mardi Gras link - which wasn't really covered at all. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this Conversation and learned a lot about the humble donut's surprisingly involved social and culinary history.

B
B.g.
Only ok

Donuts covered adequately. Link to Mardi Gras only marginal.
Seemed more a marketing tool.