Krispy Kreme: Nice doughnuts. But why all the fuss?
Are We There Yet?: What’s so great about its deep-fried dough? I found out visiting my brother in North Carolina
People queue outside the newly opened Krispy Kreme outlet at Blanchardstown Shopping Centre. Photograph: Aidan Crawley
Krispy Kreme and I go way back. I’m talking the early noughties when I’d visit my brother Eddie in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he lived with his Irish wife Katy and their two sons.
Eddie was always a generous host. He had a swimming pool in the back yard and the barbecue was always fired up. He called it Club Ed for the purposes of these family visits. There were breakfasts, lunches and dinners out in lovely neighbourhood restaurants and lively late-night gatherings with their friends at home.
But the big outing when we visited was always the drive to Krispy Kreme. This week I’ve been reflecting on my older brother’s awestruck attitude to the all- American institution which gives a bit of an insight into the madness witnessed in Blanchardstown since the 24-hour drive-in doughnut emporium opened there.
Before we’d even arrived, Eddie had talked up Krispy Kreme like it was the Taj Mahal and not a doughnut shop.
With unusual reverence in his voice he told us about how, if we timed it right, we could get there when the “Hot Now” sign appeared at the shop.
The “Hot Now” signs meant the doughnuts had just been freshly made and this was the holy grail of doughnut eating, according to Ed.
I can say this now, but we couldn’t at the time, our wide-eyed enthusiasm and loud appreciative noises were more about being good guests than any real understanding of the allure of the Krispy Kreme doughnut.
Winston-Salem is the home of the Krispy Kreme doughnut chain. Legend has it that Vernon Rudolph bought a secret yeast-raised doughnut recipe from a New Orleans French chef, rented a building in what is now historic Old Salem and began selling its Krispy Kreme doughnuts on July 13th, 1937, to local grocery stores.
The delicious scents of cooking doughnuts drifted into the streets, and passersby stopped to ask if they could buy hot doughnuts. So canny Vernon cut a hole in an outside wall and started selling them to customers on the pavement.
This evolved into the drive-ins which caused such a frenzy in Dublin this week – traffic jams and people buying doughnuts and beeping car horns at 3am – that Krispy Kreme in Blanch has had to shut down at night.
Driving for “Hot Now” doughnuts in Winston also included standing and watch them being made through glass like one of those Sesame Street “how stuff is made videos”.
Then you bought them. And then you went home and ate them. And that was pretty much it.
There’s no denying Krispy Kreme doughnuts are nice. Good doughnuts. Tasty doughnuts. But I could never understand the joy and excitement my brother Eddie got from showing off the place to his Irish visitors.
And after the third time buying doughnuts, I think he was a little disappointed that the lure of Krispy Kreme could not outshine the vast and cheap-as-chips department store Target or the place where you could buy Cin A Bons, both of which experiences were more revelatory and enjoyable to his sibling visitor than the doughnut drive-in.
My brother Eddie has recently relocated back in Ireland. He’s enjoying being able to attend family gatherings and not have people look at him strangely when he eats chip sandwiches.
Last weekend he turned up late to my sister Katie’s 40th birthday brunch. When he arrived he was carrying three huge boxes of doughnuts which he had sat in traffic for an undisclosed amount of time to collect.
He had made a little detour to a familiar spot in Blanchardstown and completely lost the run of himself. (Not that anyone was complaining, the doughnuts were hoovered up).
You can take the Irish man out of Winston but it turns out he’ll still find his way back to Krispy Kreme.
Some other things to do with children this weekend
Children’s trail: Seamus Heaney – Listen Now Again exhibition: If you haven’t been to this beautiful exhibition take the children this weekend. The children’s trail of Seamus Heaney: Listen Now Again at the Bank of Ireland Cultural and Heritage Centre in College Green, Dublin, includes the chance to complete a poetry journal to take home. Suitable for ages 8 to 12. Saturday, October 6th, at 11am
Simon Home Run: Run, walk or jog this Saturday at the Dublin Simon Community’s Simon Home Run in the Phoenix Park. The run is for all abilities and there’ll be fun for all the family. Saturday 6th October 6th, at 10.30am, Phoenix Park. Tickets €25/€25. Register at homerun.ie