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Sycamore Springs: Shrove Tuesday was Donut Day

Day before Lent was big blow out to indulge in the sweets her big family would give up for Lent. The writer has wonderful memories of that tradition: 'I can still see the dining room table covered in tablecloths and donuts, the slightly out of shape golden brown oval rings of care my Mother made, smothered in glaze, a cup of freshly made coffee in a White Castle coffee mug tempered with a touch of milk. Yes, today was Donut Day.'
Click on headline for complete story of a magic kitchen factory, which, for one day a year, rivalled - in donut equivalence - Willy Wonka's chocolate plant

By Cynthia Meyer
Columns from Sycamore Springs, near Breeding, KY

Growing up Catholic, we were taught to give something up for Lent. Sweets were usually the main thing adults tried to sway us into giving up. Tradition in my family was "Donut Day" aka Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent started was our big blow out!


Mom would spend all day prepping for dinner which was homemade donuts and coffee. - Only donuts and coffee. She would start the dough in early afternoon, letting it raise, then rolling out and cutting donuts, usually around 13 dozen or so. Which means we would have to put the leaves in the old oak claw footed dining room table, spread a tablecloth on it, place the donuts on it for the final raise, and then cover them with another tablecloth till they did.

Once the donuts had risen to their full stature, we were sent in with dinner plates to fetch the mass of doughy rings so they could be fried in Momma's cast iron skillet to the perfect golden brown color, then they were dunked in a bowl full of glaze. Once skimmed through the glaze of confectioners' sugar, milk and a skosh of honey and vanilla. The donuts were put in Tupperware bowls which lined the kitchen as we waited for the last donut to flip in the skillet from creamy white dough into a airy lushes golden ring.

No, you were not allowed to lick the glaze off your fingers; you had to use a fork to retrieve the donuts from the milky white lake of sugary goodness. A quick cuff to the back of the head once was the only reminder that "other people have to eat those too ya know!" that insured that the one glazing the donuts used a fork. There were times that Maplene was added to the glaze for a Maplely goodness only known to an older generation.

After the last donut was fried and glazed only then could the whole family sit down to a meal of nothing but donuts and piping hot coffee (milk to those who wished it)! Counting how many donuts you ate was a must, but no one cared as there was always plenty and we never ran out. There were always leftovers for breakfast, some packed neatly in plastic "Baggies" would also be found in your brown paper bag at lunch the following day as well.

Kids in school never understood our odd holiday tradition, since we seldom really had gave up sweets for Lent, but were still permitted to indulge in the day. Back then Mardi Gras or Carnival had little or no meaning to us, they were not our world. We did understand the concept of Lent, giving something up even if it was not sweets and a smudge of ashes on our foreheads the next day.

I can still see the dining room table covered in tablecloths and donuts, the slightly out of shape golden brown oval rings of care my Mother made, smothered in glaze, a cup of freshly made coffee in a White Castle coffee mug tempered with a touch of milk. Yes, today was Donut Day.

- Cynthia Meyer


This story was posted on 2017-03-01 01:01:26
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