My grandma Ann owned the women’s clothing store and so it was with her indulgent smile I was introduced to a world of taffeta, tomato-shaped pincushions and the tense buttons of the cash register.
Coming from the otherwise bland suburbs, spending a snowy day at grandma’s was always enormously thrilling. For hours at a time, we’d welcome customers, show off jewelry in the front counter, and take our earrings off before we answered the phone. Then, right when I was starting to think about watching soaps in her upstairs apartment, she’d open up the till, as she called it, and take out a few one-dollar bills. Who wants a donut? she’d say. Jam buster!
She’d open up her hand and I’d press mine into it and off we’d go, Ann in her beautiful blouse and pressed skirt, me in the lipstick she’d let me try on that morning. We wouldn’t go far, just across that bustling, complicated street. We’d head, of course, to The Donut Shop, with its rich, yeast-heavy aroma welcoming us even before we’d opened the door. Inside, no matter the time of day, there were always customers in front of us so I would have time to gaze at all of the donuts lined up like soldiers in the front counter.
As only children faced with eye-level confections can do, I’d painstakingly consider each flavour. Maybe this time I wouldn’t get a jam buster. Maybe I’d get chocolate covered. Maybe I’d go retro and get a cake donut. Maybe I’d just get glazed. But when it came down to the wire, the thought of my teeth sinking through the powdery surface and into the ruby center was just too irresistible. Jam buster! I’d say.
As I’ve grown into adulthood, the memory-laced bites of a perfect donut have stuck with me. While I now live far away from Selkirk Avenue, I can recreate them in my own kitchen, with my own daughter. It’s a beautiful weekend project, whose results are as sweet as the days at The Original Shop.
Click here for our favourite Donut Recipes.