Posts tagged usa

How To Make Kombucha

Hello friends,

do you like Kombucha? If you like it as much as I do, live in Boston and therefore know how expensive this love can get, you’ll start looking into alternative options aka DYI.

I’ve been reading up on how to get started and I’ve been preparing everything for it. Not gonna lie though, the SCOBY freaks me out a little (google it and you’ll know what I’m talking about).

Check out the video below for a comprehensive introduction into making your own Kombucha. I’ll let you know how it went!

Let me know if you’ve tried it and if you have any insider tips and recommendations you can share with us beginners. Have a lovely day!

Photo Credit: The Kitchn

How to Meal Prep When You Don’t Want to Meal Prep

Hello friends,

how has March been treating you so far? I hope all is well!

I’m coming at you today with a topic (see above) that I had never given much thought when I was still living back in Switzerland. I basically didn’t know what it was.

Working in the US, where most people have al desko lunches every day and tackle rather long commutes day in day out forced me to rethink my food options Monday through Friday. After all there are some quite relevant advantages that come along with planning and preparing your meals ahead. Let’s hear some right now in case you need convincing. I’m sure there are more, those seem like the most obvious ones to me.

  • Time: You’ll save yourself some veeery valuable time in the morning (think about how much longer you can spend lying in bed. That’s a good one, right?)
  • Physical Health: You’ll know exactly what ingredients go into your meals. If you have any dietary restrictions this can be especially valuable.
  • Mental Health: We all know that being hangry is not a particularly nice state of mind. In order to keep yourself happy it’s always great to have prepped meals and snacks at hand.

#1 Make a plan

Who doesn’t love a good plan?

No?

Even if it includes food?

There are a million resources, meal plans, videos, posts out there but I’ll try and keep it fairly simple by just showing you how I do it and what my take on it is. If you’re into it, take a few minutes maybe on a Friday or Saturday or whenever you do your grocery shopping for the week ahead. Things to take into consideration:

  • How many meals do you need to prepare? How many times will you be out for dinner or lunch and therefore not need to prepare anything during the work week? I tend to not plan anything for the weekend as we have more time then and are out and about. Still, being more aware of what you’ll need will not only make your grocery shopping sessions be done way faster and efficiently (no more randomly picking up groceries as you go) it will also prevent you from having to throw away food that has gone to waste.
  • Have your containers ready: As you will be preparing meals or ingredients for the week ahead you’ll have to store them somewhere. Make sure to have enough glass jars (for breakfasts or salads) or glass containers at hand.
  • Set time aside to prep: Lots of people including myself will have a little cooking session on a Sunday night for an hour or two and get all the preparation done.

#2 Ideas for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

The way I approach meal prep is to prepare ingredients separately rather than full meals. This holds true for lunch especially. For breakfast and for dinner I will mostly turn to a “complete” meal. What do I mean by that?

Breakfast

My go-to options are either overnight oats, chia pudding or a bircher. They won’t take much longer than a few minutes to put together. Stored in a glass jar your 5 breakfasts for the work week ahead are ready to go.

Breakfast Prep

  • Oats, chia pudding or bircher as your base
  • Toppings (fresh or dried fruit, nuts, seeds, almond butter)

Breakfast Inspo

Lunch

I’ve rediscovered my love for spinach salad. It’s become a staple item for my lunch salads. I am not a fan of salads that will make you go hungry an hour after eating them though. The key here is to bulk up your salad with as many delicious things as possible. I love to throw in some red quinoa, farro, barley, lentils, brown rice or chickpeas, avocados, olives, artichokes, hard-boiled eggs topped with some green onions, sunflower seeds, chive, roasted vegetables, hummus, falafel, tahini, cottage or feta cheese,… The list is endless, choose your salads and have your ingredients for the week ready so that you can just put them together the night before. Switch up the ingredients every week so the whole thing doesn’t get boring.

Lunch Prep

  • Red quinoa, farro, barley, lentils, brown rice, chickpeas
  • Hard-boil some eggs
  • Roast vegetables in the oven (parsnips, sweet potatoes, carrots, …)
  • Make your own hummus
  • Cut up vegetables to snack on during the week
  • Prep your toppings such as green onions, edamame, chicken, falafel, avocado, …

Dinner

We will think about 3-4 dinner meals that we fancy eating and will put them together on the evening itself. You have a selection of ingredients ready at hand to cook the meals you had planned so you’re good to go and will not run the risk of turning into a hangry person.

Snacks

Packing up fruit (banana, apples) and nuts, seeds and dried fruit in small glass jars is always great if you’re out and about and feeling peckish.

I’ll also prepare my own ginger-turmeric concoction, which I love. Here’s how I do it: Grate some fresh ginger, add a tablespoon of turmeric powder, pour over a bit of lemon juice and drizzle with honey. Store the mix in a glass jar in your fridge and take it out whenever you feel like a warming tea. Just add a few tablespoons (depending on how spicey you like things) of your mix into a cup and pour boiling water over it. Tadaa! Your delicious tea, loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties is ready to be consumed! Enjoy!

Do you prepare your meals ahead? If so what are your favorite dishes and where do you find inspiration? Let us know in the comments below.

Have a lovely day!

Photo credit: https://downshiftology.com

Making Friends Abroad

Hi everyone,

how are you today?

I have been thinking about friendship and making friends abroad more specifically a lot lately and wanted to share my thoughts with you. Friendships are so special as they’re so different from any other type of relationship in our lives, right?

I had posted a piece about making new friends roughly a year ago (see here) and I am very happy to report: I’ve been successful.

Go me!

 

Is it easy to make new friends?

That’s a question I get asked a lot back home. Here’s what I’d usually answer.

Living abroad for two years is an immense privilege so I take it for what it is: A gift. Most people I’ve talked to that find themselves in a similar position would support this statement. It also doesn’t hurt living in an inspiring and international place like Cambridge where so many talented and bright people come together from all over the world. It’s a great starting point to making new friends I’d say.

And it was for me too. I am so grateful for having found new friends and having been able to build a new circle of trust within a few months only. A majority of people you’ll meet here aren’t originally from Boston nor are they from Massachusetts. Many are from China, India, South Korea, Japan, Europe, Mexico, South America, and the list goes on. And being away from home will force you to being open to making new connections.

Because be honest, you probably don’t go out actively seeking new friends in your hometown, don’t you? I can only speak of my personal and Swiss experience but I feel like I used to be especially lazy in that department. Looking back, I probably could have been more friendly with outsiders I met, I could have invited them over for a coffee or showed them around the city. But I didn’t. And if this American experience has taught me one thing then it’s this: To be more open-minded towards (and more friendly with) people who’ve moved to a new place.

Do you think you you’re open towards newcomers in your town?

The Native-Speaker-Friendship-Phenomenon

I will forever be grateful for meeting so many awesome people. It sounds cliché but interacting with an eclectic bunch of people will really widen your horizon and you’ll learn so many things. Even though we couldn’t have more different backgrounds and home countries, there is one thing that unites us: The experience of leaving home and starting a new life in a new country. We’re on this crazy ride together and share our experience of living in the US as Non-Americans. And that is something incredibly valuable already. Knowing that others go through similar struggles and find similar things about American daily life funny (or weird or both) will undoubtedly bring you closer.

What I also found is that your relation with your native language will change over time. I strongly believe that the saying ‘Distance makes the love grow fonder’ not only applies to people or things but also to language. I seize every opportunity to speak German therefore also greatly appreciate friendly people that speak it (I also call it the native-speaker-friendship-phenomenon).

The emotional attachment to your native language

The emotional attachment to a language is something fascinating. I realize how precious my native language is especially when talking to Swiss friends here in Boston. There is such freedom and beauty in being able to expressing your thoughts and feelings in an unfiltered way and one that feels so obvious and natural to you that you don’t even have to think twice.

As there are not that many Swiss people readily available in Boston, I have to extend my circle of German speakers to German and Austrian friends. And you know what? They are great too.

To my Boston friends reading this, I really appreciate each and every one of you, you make this American journey what it is and I’ll be forever grateful.

To my Swiss friends reading this, you’re great too (obviously) but think if you can be extra-nice to someone that’s moved to Switzerland or your town recently (unless said person is an idiot, then you don’t have to be extra-nice, I trust your call on this).

Cheers,

Sandra

The Iced Coffee Mystery

Americans, you never seize to surprise me. 

After having lived here for about one year I’ve just discovered something new the other week. And I am not making this up, even the Boston Globe reported about it a couple weeks back (see article here).

Btw, if any Americans are reading this, please explain this phenomenon to me. I’d LOVE to understand. Really.

What am I talking about? Let me set this post in context for you first. We are currently experiencing winter, I’m not talking about your average mild winter. I’m talking New England style type of winter, the wind chills are powerful (nicely said), the cold is bitter and the storms are never-ending. It’s February after all. They say a few more blizzards are coming our way.

Baseline: It’s cold. Real cold.

So, what is it that people (everyone except me) drink around here in the morning (or at any given time of day really) and that you will see everywhere, sitting on office desks, in classrooms, on construction sites, EVERYWHERE?

Iced coffee. With LOTS of ice cubes.

Yap. I am not exaggerating here. It is freezing cold but still a big part of the population deems it to be a good choice of drink. Why?

I tried to understand.

Is it the taste? Is it the fact that you can immediately start drinking it and don’t have to wait until it’s cooled off? Is it that your body doesn’t even care about the cold anymore (because you’ve evolved into a real Northeasterner with immunity to cold) ? I’d LOVE TO KNOW.

Dunkin’ Donuts (of course) also did a little study about this phenomenon back in 2011, check out their insights here.

Are there any interesting food or drink habits you see around where you live? Let me know.

Have a lovely day, wherever you are.

And whatever drinks you choose to go for, you DO YOU.

Photo Credit: SUZANNE KREITER/GLOBE STAFF

Come With Me to Lake Tahoe and Yosemite Valley

Hi friends,

time to look back on one last part of our Californian honeymoon in today’s post. I’ve sadly lost some of the photos of our stay Lake Tahoe and Yosemite Valley but here’s the one’s I had made with my phone. Have a great day!

Staying in an awesome tree house in Oakhurst, near Yosemite Park.
Things learnt during our roadtrip #1 Hammocks = Instant relaxation guaranteed.

Things learned our roadtrip #2 EVERY coffee shop has merch on sale.
Pancakes for breakfast. Because priorities.
Our cute cabin at Camp Richardson on Lake Tahoe
Our cabin
Doing part of the Pacific Crest Trail was on my bucket list. Glad we did it!

Autumn Favorites

Friends,

how is it already December? HOW? I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the past couple of weeks and since it’s getting really cold and wintery around here share my Autumn favorites with you.

#1 Halloween Madness

I had told you that I was living in Halloween Central (read post here), remember? But boy oh boy, I didn’t expect the actual Halloween evening itself to be as big, as fun and as lovely as it turned out to be. Beacon Hill (the neighborhood I live in) has a a bit a reputation of being a rich people’s place (I mean I live a few feet away from John Kerry’s humble aboad, which definitely doesn’t seem too humble).

Also it doesn’t mean we’re living in a fancy city house (the contrary actually, it’s a super old building with radiators making so much noise in every room that it almost seems like they want to communicate with each other (which weirdly also makes me think about the flickering lights in Stranger Things?!!! Are our radiators trying to tell me something? We’ll explore this in my second Autumn favorite later own).

But back to Halloween. I seriously LOVED it. I would never have expected to like it as much as I did. The Boston Police Department closed down a few streets in the neighborhood, which made for a nice opportunity to stroll on the streets and take all the house decorations in as well as indulge in some serious people watching (aka staring. But not in a creepy way) as some reallly went all out. Dogs wearing lion manes, babies dressed up as cute vegetables and fruits and countless little superheroes, princesses and Wonder Womans (that seemed to be a thing this year?) walking around having a great time made it an unforgettable experience. Also, two dinosaurs wearing the same costume finding each other and having a little dance-off was definitely a highlight. You don’t get to see that every day, right?

#2 The Crown

I mean Season 2 is EVEN BETTER I think than Season 1. It’s just bloody brilliant. Watch it!

#3 Stranger Things

Yes, this is not an original input but WOW, how good is season 2 (except for that one weird episode they threw in there, didn’t like that one. You’ll know, which one I mean if you’ve seen it I’m sure). I feel you get to know the characters so much better.

Also, can we talk about Steve for a little bit? I mean his evolution from being a meh character in season 1 to becoming a crucial and positive part of the team in season 2 is just great. And. His hair. How does this even work?!

#4 The Confession Tapes

Another maybe less fun to watch but still so insightful true-crime documentary is the Confession Tapes. You’ll want to watch all the episodes at once as you won’t believe how people get themselves in scary situations where they will say pretty much anything investigators want them to. Seeing the material will make you shudder.

#5 Leggins Addiction

I have to report that the American leggins addiction has gotten a hold on me.

Yap. I am the person that will wear sports leggings now on a weekend day just to go out and run some errands. Will I keep up this habit when I’ll go back to Switzerland over Christmas? I don’t know.

If you happen to run into me on the streets of Zurich wearing my lululemon pants, you’ll know what’s up. Oh and the Black Friday and Cyber Monday and all those bad BAD incentives to make you buy more leggins you don’t really need. Don’t get me started on those.

#6 Thanksgiving Gratitude

I can safely say after about a year in the US and having seen all the American holidays that my favorite holidays by far are Halloween and Thanksgiving. We had a Friendsgiving dinner (thanks Megan!) the weekend before and a more intimate Thanksgiving dinner on the the day of with a good friend and it was just so nice. I love the idea of gratitude and that you get to spend time with family and friends. And the food isn’t too shabby, either.

#7 Korean Sheet Masks

Thanks to my friends Jiwon and Narrae for introducing me to Korean face sheet masks (like the real deal), I see why people everywhere get excited about them, they are AMAZING! If you can get hold of  them, try it for yourself.

Have a lovely day!

Boston Autumn: A Photo Album

Hi,

welcome to today’s photo post that is going to be a mix of things I’ve seen and done over the last couple weeks. Enjoy and have a great day!

Time For The Arts

Cambridge and Harvard aka our old neighborhood (still missing it)

Beacon Hill aka our new neighborhood (still getting used to it)

The Head of the Charles Regatta, the world’s largest two-day rowing event

A Surprise Weekend in New York

Friends,

if there’s anything I’d like you to take away from today’s post (and yes, of course it’s to ALSO go and see ‘Book of Mormon’ if you get a chance to) is to surprise someone dear to you every now and then. I got surprised with a weekend trip to New York by the husband for my birthday and it was glorious.

What follows is a little report on our New Yorker adventures, sprinkled with a few tips for new great food places and other spots we’ve discovered this time around (I’ve written a couple of posts about New York over the last months, go check them out here about my NYC Food Guide or here for another food-related post about a trip to New York we took).

Friday, November 10th

All the planning fans amongst you might understand my confusion in regards as to what to pack for a trip to an unknown destination. Philipp would only tell me to pack something for a sports activity, a more dressy outfit and not much more than that. Great. Still, I was very excited. We got up early in the morning, still had a chance to get a few pastries from Tatte for the journey and off we went on the T. We will get on a train somewhere I thought. I kept checking the timetables in the hall and tried to find out more about our destination, which Philipp onlz found slightly annoying. Right about 8.30 am I found out. We were going to…New York!

We arrived at our airbnb early in the afternoon and went on to discover the neighborhood right after. We had a late lunch at the beautiful and hidden away Gotan. It’s a great spot because it has a great menu on offer but still feels more like a café where you can hang out and read a book for hours. As it was freezing cold outside that was basically what we chose to do. All while munching away on a glorious grilled cheese and a chia bowl with lots of coffee.

On our way home we stopped at Le Dépanneur, which is just a beautiful store and deli. I mean. I was looking at jams (yes, jams) for what felt like an eternity. If you’re in the area and a ceramics or perfume lover, definitely stop by Mociun and Le Labo.

Saturday, November 11th

Dogs and Proposals at Central Park

The first surprise activity was a 8am sightseeing run through Central Park. It was freakin’ freezing but a great experience to start our day in this beautiful park alongside what felt a million dogs and their owners. Seriously, I’ve never seen so many dogs (also SO many different dogs) in one day. We went on to see the park’s landmarks, ran by numerous engagement and baby shootings and almost missed a proposal it seems as there were still fresh roses laid out like a heart on the famous Bow Bridge. Overall a great start to the day, even though getting up was hard. We go a hot coffee and a wonderful pumpkin muffin at Rex nearby Central Park as our guide had recommended it afterwards to warm ourselves up again. And he was right, it’s is a great neighborhood spot. Go! We went back home and then went for a proper brunch at Café Mogador. Highly recommend as well if you’re finding yourself near Bedford Avenue. On our way back to Manhattan we ran into the Veteran’s parade.

Best Musical Ever

Definitely the biggest highlight of our trip was seeing Book of Mormon. What a fantastic musical! And hear me out, even if you’re not into musicals I think this’d be the musical you’d LOVE. It was just a memorable experience you’ll love.

Joe’s Pizza and Barcade Fun

If you also ever find yourself on Bedford Avenue (aka Hipster Central) but just want to go for a simple meal, Joe’s Pizza, a New Yorker institution is your best bet. Another great place is the Barcade, it’s basically a playground with beer supply for adults. Great fun!

Sunday, November 12th

We had brunch at Eggshop, which was ok but not more than that I’d say. We then went for a long walk along Bedford Avenue up to Greepoint, which is such a nice neighborhood. We stopped at Peter Pan to get some doughnuts. If you’re ever near Greenpoint definitely visit Peter Pan, it’s a no frills, very down to earth place. And the doughnuts are seriously amazing. And only cost $1 (!!). We devoured them at the Transmitter Park a few steps away while enjoying the great view of the city. New York, you’re truly an amazing and unique city. See you soon!

The Anti-Cinnamon Roll

Cinnamon rolls are fine. Great even. But sometimes you just gotta try something new, right?

So be cool and go against the cinnamon rolls flow and bring sticky lemon rolls with lemon cream cheese glaze to your next brunch date, people will love it (I think, unless they lied, which I hope they didn’t. No, I thought they were really good, too).

I followed Kitchn’s recipe (great food blog btw) and it turned out great. Only thing I will say is you have to plan ahead to have enough time as the steps where you’re supposed to let the dough rise are quite time-consuming. So top tip, prepare the dough the evening before you want to serve them and  baked the next morning they will be warm when you put them on the breakfast table. The smell of freshly baked goods, not much can beat that, right?

What you’ll need

For the dough:
2 1/2 teaspoons (1 envelope or 1/4 ounce) active yeast
3/4 cup milk (for my European friends this would equal to about 180g)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for an hour (115g)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup white sugar (50g, I want to add to this point that you might want to add a tiiiiiiny little bit more of sugar as they were – I would’t say healthy – but more on the not so sugary side).
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 lemon, zested
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (630g)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

For the sticky lemon filling:
1 cup sugar (200g)
1 lemon, zested
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, very soft
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
lemon juice, from 2 lemons

For the lemon cream cheese glaze: 1 lemon, zested and juiced, 4 ounces cream cheese, softened, 1 cup powdered sugar

The dough

Sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk and let it sit for a few minutes. Stir the softened butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, and 1 cup of the flour into the milk and yeast mixture. Stir in the salt and nutmeg. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft yet sticky dough and keep on stirring until the dough is smooth, pliable, and stretchy. Lightly grease the top of the dough with vegetable oil, and turn the dough over so it is coated in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel and let the dough rise for 1 hour or until doubled.

The sticky lemon filling

While the dough is rising, rub the lemon zest into the sugar with the tips of your fingers until well combined. Add the butter and beat together until it is thick, whipped, and creamy. Add the ginger and nutmeg, then the lemon juice. It should be a thin yet still creamy mixture of butter and sugar. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour, or until you are ready to assemble the rolls. Lightly grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish (ca. 33 x 48 cm) with baking spray or butter. On a floured surface, pat the risen dough into a large yet still thick rectangle — about 10 x 15 inches (aka 25 x 38 cm).

Spread the dough evenly with the sticky lemon filling. Roll the dough up tightly, starting from the top long end. Stretch and pull the dough taut as you roll, to keep the lemon filling inside. Cut the long dough roll into 12 even rolls and place each in the prepared baking dish. Cover the rolls with a towel and let them rise for 1 hour or until puffy and doubled.

→ You can refrigerate the rolls at this point like I did. Cover the pan tightly with a towel, and place it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When you are ready to bake the rolls, remove the pan from the fridge, and let them rise for an hour before proceeding with baking.

Yes, I know, It takes time. But it’s so worth it.

Bake the rolls

Heat the oven to 350°F (arrrrrrggghh, those measurements are SO confusing. For my European crowd this means 177°C) and bake the rolls for about 35-45 minutes or until they’re nice and browned.

The glazing extravaganza

While the rolls are baking, you prepare the glaze. Whip the lemon juice and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and blend until smooth and creamy. When the rolls are done, DROWN them with the cream cheese glaze, and sprinkle the reserved lemon zest over top to garnish. Let them cool for a bit but do serve them while still warm. Delicious!

Let me know if you’ve tried it, have a lovely day!

The Ugly Christmas Sweater Phenomenon

Hello friends,

the holiday season is officially here, holiday parties and gatherings are upon us. What to wear?

What I’ve found out to be really interesting when reading through work holiday party invitations or just by talking to other people around me is that dress codes suggesting wearing something with a holiday flair are quite common. But what does holiday flair exactly mean?

I asked a few Americans (who I figured should know) about what it meant. I heard everything from it being a color scheme containing red, green or silver and gold shades. Or that it meant to simply wear ugly Christmas sweaters.

I might be totally mistaken but I feel like Christmas sweaters aren’t as huge of a thing in continental Europe like they are here in the US (besides Mark Darcy rocking them in the Bridget Jones’ films of course. This man can wear everything and still look sophisticated). But I wanted to know more, where do those ugly Christmas sweaters come from, what’s their story?

Where do Christmas sweaters come from?

Christmas-themed sweaters were first produced on a grand scale in the 1950s, when the Christmas holiday was becoming increasingly commercialized. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the Christmas sweater gained mainstream adoration. This trend has steadily moved upward and as of 2010, ugly Christmas sweaters are once again highly fashionable.

Image via FPG / Getty Images

But why do they have to be ugly?

That’s a difficult one. Doing some research on it online won’t really bring forward a clear response but two arguments seem to keep resurfacing: Nostalgia and an obsession people have with fashion. 

Firstly, ugly Christmas sweaters seem to have that vintage Christmas appeal that reminds us of the days when Christmas meant going to bed early so Santa could bring those presents. Secondly, the ridiculous designs quite likely break every known law of fashion–and that’s the point. To liberate yourself from all fashion conventions is a good thing, so why not? Wear your ugly Christmas sweaters with pride;-) Also, if you want to wear a nice and NOT an ugly sweater it is absolutely fine. YOU DO YOU. 

If you feel like you need a Christmas sweater know, find a bit o inspiration down below to get you started (the ones shown below are all still available on amazon if you fell in love with one specifically):

Do you like to wear Christmas sweaters for the holiday season? If so, what is your favorite one? Let us know in the comments below. Have a great holiday season!

American Icons: The Doughnut

 

Dear America,

you and I. And Homer Simpson. We share one big passion.

It’s round, the most delicious thing EVER and well, the title already gave it away: It’s the doughnut.

Contrary to Zurich where it was practically impossible to get ahold of good artisanal doughnuts (and no, Dunkin Donuts that just recently opened up DOES NOT count), I’m in Doughnut heaven right now. This seems to be THE single thing EVERYONE eats, even fancy restaurants will put it up as a dessert item. I hope you get the point that doughnuts ARE IMPORTANT here (gonna stop with the capital letters in bold now, promise.)

All that interesting stuff about doughnuts (legends incl.)

To not let you go on with your day without knowing a bit more about the background story of this country’s most delicious pastry, find a few facts below.
Also, who knows, you might want to have input for a bit of small talk for upcoming holiday parties, right? A question to get conversations started could be: Why is there a hole in the doughnut? Intriguing, I know. The answer follows shortly.

Apparently, the credit for inventing doughnuts goes to Europe. More specifically to the Netherlands, where oliekoecken (oil cakes or fried cakes) were first made. Dutch pilgrims came to the US and introduced this delicious thing.

The Doughnut Dilemma
However, there was one little problem.  When the olykoeks were pulled from the frying kettle, the centers were rarely fully cooked. One temporary answer to that was to insert a filling that only needed to be warmed.

cropped-cropped-blackbird-pbj-1

Legend has it that a woman in New England back in the 1840s called Elizabeth Gregory was known to make great olykoeks. Part of her secret was to fill the center with nuts. She also had a special name for her creation — dough-nuts. This is an AHA moment, am I right?

Her son was a captain (Captain Hanson), so the good mother she was, she sent him a lot of doughnuts with the recipe of it to make more. This is where the legend gets a bit confusing. In one variation, Captain Hanson’s ship hits a storm and he finds himself having problems steering and holding his doughnut at the same time (on a side note: seems not to be best idea in the first place, but hey, he’s the captain, not me.) He went on to impale the doughnut on one of the spokes on the steering wheel to keep his hands free (what a brilliant solution). This again drove a hole through the raw center of the doughnut, which he liked a lot. Ever since, the legend says, he ordered his cook to prepare all doughnuts with holes in the center.

Another variation of the legend is far less dramatic. The Captain didn’t like the nuts that were in his mother’s recipe and requested that the ship’s cook removed them of the doughnuts centers. Also, with the removed center, the doughnuts cooked more evenly.

You weren’t expecting such a dramatic captains story? Oh the surprises doughnuts bring. 
I could go on and on about the history of the doughnut. Did you know that in the two World Wars doughnuts also played a role? And don’t get me started on Dunkin Donuts. It has been founded in Massachusetts. Quite an interesting story.

After all the talking, I need to go and buy me some doughnuts.

Are you a Swiss person and craving doughnuts right now? I am afraid, you might have to go to Dunkin Donuts. But don’t fear. The ever so great magazine Lucky Peach has made a very helpful chart showing you what to get at DD, if you have to go. Enjoy! powerranking_dd

© Union Square Donuts, BLACKBIRD Doughnuts