[Sca-cooks] PPC 84 / doughnuts

Johnna Holloway johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu
Sun Feb 10 17:23:07 PST 2008

Ok the doughnut article--
This "the Origins and Early History of the Doughnut" by Brian Brivati on 
pages 51-74
of PPC 84 is a very strange one. Here are some quick thoughts.

To start --
No footnotes, references, bibliography, or sources are listed. So we 
have the author
quoting large amounts of text without scant attribution at times. He 
mentions the internet
and apparently quotes text from websites without naming the websites.
He mentions for instance Martha Carlin and writes
"Martha Carlin writing of the fast-food industry..." on page 68. Now where
exactly did Martha Carlin write about the fast-food industry. He fails 
to say.
I happen to know that he is referencing this article:
Carlin, Martha. "Fast Food and Urban Living Standards in Medieval England."
*Food and Eating in Medieval Europe. *
Edited by Martha Carlin and Joel T. Rosenthal.
London: The Hambledon Press, 1998. pp. 27-51.

Many other readers might not know that.
I have to wonder if the sources or notes were just omitted from the end 
of the article.

He early on states "I define the doughnut as wheat-based risen dough 
which is fried and then finished sweetly." page 51.

As to his definitions, he doesn't reference OED, MED, or such works as 
one might expect like Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE/) or 
/The Historical Dictionary of
American Slang. He also doesn't mention using the Oxford Companion to 
Food and Drink or the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America*

*The article as has been noted by Mistress Huette is all over the place 
and even tries to tie into
a Native American pre-historical connection on pages 53-54. Here he 
seems to be ignoring
his own definition that was just offered two pages earlier. But no 
matter because he then tries
to tie in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and the Bible. Then it's off to 
feast days and fairs in the
Middle Ages and the already mentioned Martha Carlin article. It's 
confusing at best.

In conclusion I will mention that the author on page 52 proclaims in no 
uncertain terms
"Sally Levitt Steinberg's The Doughnut Book is the only previous work on 
the history
of the doughnut." (There's actually two edition of this book by the 
way--1987 and 2004.
The author was featured in a Travel Channel's documentary /Donut Crazy/.)

Brivati is just wrong here as John T. Edge's excellent small history 
titled Donuts. An American
passion came out in 2006. Had he read John Edge's book he might have 
gained a better perspective
as to what doughnuts or donuts are or are not. Edge writes on page 14 of 
his book
"The truth is that fried pastries are universal. They are historical."

In conclusion I think people should just skip the article and read John 
Edge's book or perhaps
wait until September. I will add that another book on doughnuts titled 
Glazed America: A Social History of the Doughnut  will be published
in September 2008 by University Press of Florida.

Hope this helps,


Johnna  wrote:
> PPC arrived yesterday and I just shelved it.
> I won't get to the article until Monday at the earliest. Sorry...
> Johnna
> Huette von Ahrens wrote:
>> Hi!
>> I received my issue # 84 of PPC on Tuesday.  I have had great respect for the editors of PPC
>> up until now.  Sigh.  In this issue is a 23 page article entitled "The Origins and the Early
>> History of the Doughnut" by Brian Brivati. snipped  If you can't tell by now, I am extremely
>> disappointed in this article. 
>> So, who else has read this article?  What is your opinion of it?  Am I right in thinking it is a
>> poorly written and researched article?  Or am I totally off base?
>> Huette

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