Marolt: The rise of the glazed yeast ring
When was the last time you had a really delicious glazed yeast ring? I bought a dozen last Saturday morning at Clark’s Market. I had gone out for doughnuts. Who knew?
There is a funny habit I have carried over from childhood. At the breakfast table, I still read cereal boxes. Of course, that morning we were getting our sugar fixes from the bakery items I had just picked up instead of Sugar Pops, so I perused the label on the plastic box that temporarily contained them. There it was, plain as day on the label in large, fancy lettering as if they were proud of it — “Glazed Yeast Rings”!
“Thooupff!” — my three-quarters masticated bite went into the sheet of paper towel I used as a napkin. The power of suggestion is an incredible thing. The taste had been palatable, even if the texture a bit waxy, when I thought I was consuming a regular old doughnut, but the second I discovered that I was actually ingesting a glazed yeast ring, it tasted like nothing I had ever put in my mouth before, and not in the good, “Wow, I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on that my whole life” way!
Of course, I had to tell the kids what they were eating. That pretty much ruined breakfast, and we were left looking forward to an early lunch. Why would someone produce sugary food that looks exactly like a doughnut and call it something else. Just the sound of the word “doughnut” makes your mouth water. Isn’t that good enough? “Yeast ring” makes me feel like throwing up. I guess the marketing department mistakenly figured that “vomit” is to “mouth water” what “broth” is to “chicken noodle soup with vegetables,” and that is a real-world example of why that is an important section on the SAT.
The word “vegan” has a similar effect on me. “Vegetarian” isn’t much better. Due to loose associations, both terms make whatever consumable products they are attached to smell slightly of dreadlocks and leave an aftertaste that reminds me of loamy topsoil after horses turn it up with their hooves. It’s a shame, because sometimes I do need a break from meat.
Why do bad things happen to good names? When I was a kid, Aspen Mountain had a run called Kruezeck. People couldn’t pronounce it, and for that reason, they remembered it. New visitors to town looked at it on the map and knew they had to check it out. That name turned a crappy trail into a memorable crappy trail. Memories are what we sell.
Along came the do-gooders and sold the naming rights to raise money for the Aspen Skiing Co. charity fund. For $40,000, the run changed from good ol’ Kruezeck to Gene Reardon’s Run over one gala night. No offense to the late Reardon, but that name was much better suited to the man than the ski run. Kruezeck was a ski run, and Reardon was a man who was fun to party slopeside in the sun and drink wine with. Gene Reardon’s Run is now a bland ski run that is neither memorable or fun to drink wine on.
But changing the name of that ski run never got anyone in trouble. What did was naming the towers on Lift No. 3 after people as part of a U.S. Ski Team fund-raiser. Depending on how much you gave, they would plaster a gold, silver or bronze sticker with your name on it on a lift tower, and it was no longer called Tower No. 12; it was suddenly Harry’s Pole.
Some of us local juveniles didn’t get the concept. We saw those stickers on the lift towers, and we thought it that was the green light for personal decorating. One Saturday, we filled our pockets with Nordica Banana stickers and made sure every lift tower on the mountain had at least three stuck to it at the end of the day.
It wasn’t hard to trace the source of those stickers since my dad was the Nordica rep. It was my first fall from grace with Skico. Charley Madalone was a close family friend, my confirmation sponsor and the manager of Aspen Mountain. He called me into his office the next day and chewed me out as if for an hour he had angrily transformed into his own prize bulldog, Titus. But he let me keep my ski pass.
Afterward, I knew just exactly how much Chuck loved his job, Aspen Mountain and me, too. And, you know what? Doughnuts by any other name are just as sweet … except if they are called “glazed yeast rings.”
Roger Marolt is not looking forward to the buttered yeast loaf coming to a supermarket near you. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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