Last week I was overwhelmed with work and kids and livestock and “life” so I violently burst into the forums and issued a throwdown challenge for the members. Do you remember this—
—from the Confessions post “Shipping at Our House” July 7? It struck me as a little odd because I couldn’t imagine donuts that had been sitting in the oven for 10 full minutes looking like that when they were put into a warm bowl (yes, not just “a bowl” but a WARM bowl). So I issued a challenge to the members and asked if someone would be willing to take one for the team and do what Ree Drummond just told the world she’d just done.
Binko met my challenge and did an excellent job. Want to see it? Here you go.
***I really really hate to update this after it’s been up all day but I couldn’t help myself. Pie Near Woman and I were talking this afternoon and she mentioned some great points. WHO is this person that Ree felt the need to cut off their head? Is it a headless person? Is there a REASON the head needed to be cut off? How do you GET someone to allow you to take a picture when you’re holding a BOWL (a FUCKING BOWL people!) of donuts and cuts your head off? And who in the entire world has ever served donuts out of a bowl?
****And who in the HELL serves a BOWL of warm donuts when it’s 100′ outside to people who’ve been in the saddle for several hours and are now covered in dirt, sweat, and shit? That’s JUST what I imagine they want to do after they get off their horse – eat fucking warm donuts with their HANDS.
I should totally never drink and read her shit because it’s baffling me. And drunk and baffled is really hard.
Really Easy Donut DooDoo Recipe – posted by Binko
I’m within a couple years of The Pioneer Woman, live in the same dusty western latitude. I know the band of black thunderclouds that chase across the plains, know the herds of antelope dotting the open range, the spires of lichen-covered rock rising from green pasture. Sometimes a faded red falcon matches my speed as I drive to work, extends curved talons with a flat rise of his wings, grabs something wiggling from the grassland.
I blush when I think of all the rodeos I’ve watched with my two sons. Not because I sit next to handsome cowboys in mud-splashed jeans, but because the events hold so much life. Cowboys hoist themselves upon painted ponies. They hold the horns of cattle, thighs squeezing cattle-back in mutual fear and ecstasy, tackling wild steer for the simple prize of a belt buckle.
When I read The Pioneer Woman, I wonder whether my life of drought and secondhand clothes and old cars is alien, or whether hers is. I don’t know the rustle of new flowy shirts, the arms of a tight-bunned man. I’m a single mom, a teacher, a woman with a simple stucco house on the edge of desert prairie. I know a hundred ranchers, vaqueros, men and women who run cattle, who live by the amount of water that hits the ground. These days that ain’t much. You could drop a match and light the sky. You could breathe the local green chile stew and ignite the trees, evaporate the train station. Monsoons are late; July’s missing daily shower is just one more promise broken by Mother Nature.
But donuts, oh, donuts… they remind me of my Gramma. She died nine years ago. Babcia lived in the middle apartment of a triple tenement house for all of her married life. She worked all those years too, in a beat-up shoe factory she called the “coop.” When I was a kid, I thought she meant it like a chicken coop, a place of barbed wire and rows of feathered ladies producing shiny patent leather inventory. Later I learned it was really short for The Cooperative. Babcia spent long days drilling tiny holes into wing tipped shoes. She was an artist.
Babcia wore oversized vests she called housecoats. She sewed them out of patterned sheets she bought at the Salvation Army. She taught me how to hold the material together and let it run under the dragonfly of her ancient gunmetal sewing machine. When she died and my Grampa let me walk through the house to choose something as a momento, I walked past her vintage jewelry and took those faded housecoats. Nothing else seemed like Babcia.
She loved cooking squash and potato perogi, which she called “little pies.” I lived with her for a few years, and we drank percolated coffee and milk out of striped bowls and wondered what Father George might discuss at his next sermon. Sometimes Babcia cried. The fancy ladies at the coop, the slim ones with the modern A-line skirts and black-lined eyes, didn’t like her. They made fun of her housecoats, her weight, her sack lunches of sauerkraut, beets, and sausages.
“They’re just jealous because you’re so good at skiving,” I told her. “Babcia, you’re so good at what you do. You’re so smart.” But she shook her blue curls. She didn’t believe it.
I learned to make Paczki – rich Polish donuts traditionally served during Easter season – when I was eight years old and covered in poison ivy. Gramma painted calamine lotion on my wounds and let me lay down on her television couch and watch Lawrence Welk. Bubbles and dancers and beautiful wail of accordion-backed polka kept me from scratching, while Gramma cooked cabbage soup for dinner as the yeasty dough rose. I heard her grating horseradish, a rhythmic thump thump thump on the wooden cutting board, and then she danced into the den, in time to the music, and placed two cucumber slices on my eyes.
“Oh Gramma that feels good. Will these make me beautiful?” I remembered seeing a rich lady on TV having a facial.
“Beauty my ass!” Gramma snorted and danced back into the kitchen. I heard a spoon against the pan and the sound of running water. Gramma’s voice mixed with the bubble music on the screen and the symphony of dinner surrounding her.
“Don’t be beautiful, Binko. Be smart.”
When I saw Ree’s recipe for ranch breakfast – a ten-minute heat orgy of boxed fried dough – I had to try it. Maybe it would remind me of Babcia. Maybe I would find common ground with the rancher’s wife who seemed so distant, so worldly.
So, here ya go. One lone western woman Vs food. Let me tell ya…. the damn food won:
First Step: Go to your local Krispy Kreme or Wal-Mart (either works) and buy a dozen chocolate glazed wonders:
Play with your food. Holding circular things up to your boobies is always in vogue:
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F:
Note the lack of designer range. Hell, note the lack of a clean working space!
Place donuts, one at a time, on a baking sheet. I got mine at Kmart 25 years ago!
Admire your artistry and disregard your dirty stove:
This is the tough part! You have to wait, damnit, wait, for those luscious boobie-sized chunks of oily dough to warm up just enough to feed your men folk on the range. Or to eat them all yourself, maybe toss one each to your kids if you’re a single mom like me:
tick tock tick tock
Ten minutes is a long ass time!
At this moment, I would like to digress. It’s hot as hell here on the open range. Even with my swamp cooler at full blast, it’s over 85 degrees inside the house. Lighting that oven to prepare an alleged tasty treat just doesn’t make sense in the southern west in frakken July.
tick tock. tick tock. Did I mention that ten minutes is a long ass time?!
My clock. I love it. My clock is my life.
TEN MINUTES IS UP OH BOY YUM YUM CAN’T WAIT FOR THE CHOCOLATY GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well. Shit. I mean, literally. Shit.
Another view. Like you needed one!!!!
Now, if the donuts simply looked like ass but tasted fantastic, I could get over it. Hell, I’m a mom. I’ve seen it all, I’ve picked it off the floor and eaten it plenty of times.
These donuts, however, when removed from the oven, smelled like chemicals! I kid you not. My entire house smelled like the Trojan factory. What the heck is in those Krispy Kremes?!
Even my dog wouldn’t touch ’em.
A few hours later, the donuts rest in a solid clump, heavy, tough, with a layer of grit along their surface. My “china” is from… Dollar Tree! Buck a plate, baby!!!
A few hours later, my stomach is pressurized. I actually ate two of the donuts after my nose became immune to the smell. This was four hours ago and it feels like they haven’t moved an inch in their journey toward porcelain heaven. Ugh. Pass the Tums.
Think I’ll get my own Food Network show now?
*the next day*
With teenagers and dogs, you’d think the donuts wouldn’t last, but the next day – other than the two I ate – they sat, unloved, stuck like cement to my Dollar Tree china. I did what any country-lovin’ woman would do. I buried them. With the plate.
I left them in sweet repose in my weed infested garden, marked by a tombstone with a simple Latin epitaph: Vescere bracis meis. Translation: Eat my shorts.
I sung Amazing Grease and my son, 14, prayed to Our Fatter.
Rest in pieces.
Beer and Boobies with Binko!
I’ve decided to ask Krispy Kreme for some assistance in figuring out where my recipe went wrong. I wrote up a letter and send it through their contact page at:
Here is the letter I sent. I couldn’t attach a photo, as the contact form didn’t allow. But I think the letter says it all!
Dear Krispy Kreme,
I bought a dozen of your delicious Choclate Glazed donuts yesterday from your location at (redacted). I wanted to try out The Pioneer Woman’s recipe for warmed Krispy Kreme donuts (see The Pioneer Woman’s website at http://thepioneerwoman.com/blog/2011/07 … our-house/ ) in order to feed my teenage son something warm and hearty for a late morning snack. As I am sure you are aware, The Pioneer Woman is one of the most famous bloggers in the entire world! She has a huge audience and has just been named as a new Food Network star with her very own show!
I followed The Pioneer Woman’s directions exactly. I preheated my oven to 300, put the donuts – glaze side up – on a baking sheet, and popped them in the oven. Ten minutes later, I took them out. My donuts looked nothing like the photo on The Pioneer Woman’s blog. The glaze had melted off and was bubbling on the bottom of the baking sheet. The donuts were limp and beginning to solidify into a chewy (not in a good way) lump. In fact, it took a good twenty minutes elbow grease and some Dutch Cleanser to get the glaze off of my pan!
What did I do wrong? As you can see from The Pioneer Woman’s blog, the donuts look perky and delightful as she delivers them to her hungry troops. I wonder if any of The Pioneer Woman’s hundreds of thousands of readers had as much trouble as I did?
Maybe it’s the altitude here?
Thank you for your assistance,
What do you say about donuts gone wrong? I think any thinking person – ranch aware or not – would assume that chocolate glazed donuts would slip ‘n slide after a 300 degree beating. Was this entire fiasco my fault in some way? Is my oven uncalibrated? Can I blame my Kmart pan?
I used to blog, used to share stories about my life on the edge of the prairie. I never had a following like The Pioneer Woman, but I had a collection of beloved regulars, many who became real life friends. I’ve had to struggle to put food on the table, had to take on one odd extra job after another to make ends meet. Stories about pain and poverty don’t give readers a jolt of excitement, a hope that they may land their own Marlboro Man, their own rolling expanse of field and cattle. I read Ree’s blog and wanted to shift my grasslands to hers. Click, I would think. Click. My camera speaks the only words we have in common.
Right now, it’s a few days until hopeful monsoon. A few days until the heavens unleash what fury remains after crying over the Mississippi and Minot floodplains. What did we do to deserve Mother Nature’s stony dry stare? Look around my city streets and you see the crisp gold memory of grass, see old men run hand along rheumy eyes in a desperate attempt to fend off flying dust. Once lush backyards have taken on a gritty slumber; a lone catalpa offers tiny token leaves instead of its once imposing canopy.
Drought can affect your landscape. It can infect your mind. As a blogger with a tiny audience, I found myself searching for intellectual water, for words I hadn’t yet used. After a while, the thin layer between life at home and life online began to fray. If I wanted to escape the grind of teaching and tutoring, if I wanted to turn my blog into solid gold, I would have had to move from the gentle telling of story into something a bit more exploitive. I thought about it, made lists of gimmicks and sales techniques I could employ in order to boost my readership. I even tried a few sorry things. I don’t think that every woman with a famous and fantastic blog has done this – some folks are natural born storytellers, or have been gifted by the universe with a niche, a story no one else can tell. But I’m an average Jane, and ended up walking away from it all, closing down my blog, letting my stories sift and bob in the interwinds. For laughs, I just checked my decaying blog’s stats. Eight visitors in the past three months. I like it, like that I have moved back into real life.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with blogging for money. I think it’s great that The Pioneer Woman has discovered a formula that works, that feeds her family. I met her once, at a conference. She stood outside, cigarette in hand, taking long, hungry drags before her panel discussion. She kept to herself, not cracking a smile. I believe her when she says she doesn’t like crowds, that they make her nervous. Her shoulders stooped a little as she huddled against the brick wall, as if she were trying to melt into the scenery. She turned “on,” though, when her panel began, breaking the ice by holding an expensive camera above her head, pointed at the audience, capturing the smiles and waves of other bloggers who hoped to be famous like Ree some day. I wanted to be famous like Ree one day.
When I read The Pioneer Woman today, I think of that tableau – a woman with smoker’s breath, camera hovering overhead, bringing the audience into the picture. Her blog was just beginning to shift then, from edgy stories about ranch life into the serene and safe chronicles of a desperate housewife. The shift had to happen to build the brand, but the brand couldn’t have had momentum without some degree of intelligence and charisma.
As I drove home from that conference, the clouds pushed from my position toward Texas, pushed across the dried lake flats without a second glance. The tires spun across a road tired of tourists, a road the Apache took when they left the reservation, a road covered in bird pitch and the skin of a thousand dead lizards. My cowboy hat pressed into my forehead, protected me against the rising sun. I passed nature preserve filled with thousands of migrating cranes. An eagle squatted on a decaying cedar, his talons sharp and ready. He gave me the evil eye as my car sputtered past. I heard the flap of hungry cranes in the distance. My desire to be like Ree dissipated in the wind. I would live in the high desert and share my stories with my neighbors, with my children, and I would quit chasing something that would never happen. I think that’s the day I figured out that my life was as sweet as donuts, and the real stories were the ones that would save my soul.