My friend Maggie sent me a link for apple cider donuts a while back, and they looked so delicious that I may have kept the website open on my computer for at least a week. This recipe managed to convince me that I needed to own a donut pan, which I ordered, for a decent price, from Amazon (and, as I assured myself, was an investment in making #31DaysintheKitchen that much more awesome). Finally, my donut pan arrived in the mail and I could make donuts.
I left the door open to the apartment so light could get in through the glass screen door. My apartment has very little natural light, so this helped. But it also reminded me of France and made me thankful for an oven that was not in Celsius.
First, I mixed the dry ingredients. I got flour all over everything, as usual.
Then mixed in the wet ingredients. Now the batter smelled like cider. It was heavenly.
About this time I realized I hadn’t turned on any music. I always cook with music (or an episode of Friends) on in the background.
I thought of a line from an Erin Belieu poem, “Nocturne: My Sister Life,” that I love: you wanted the world quiet…
I thought of what I had been hearing: running water, my hands dried off on a towel. The scrape of a spatula on the bowl, against the gentle slap of batter.
I poured about half the batter carefully into the donut pan. (Next time I do this, the batter will go in a measuring cup for easier pouring.)
I had been hearing my own voice wondering what all this will add up to. I am always wondering what this will all add up to. I am always wondering what all this means. These ingredients, this reading about food, this care with what I make. This nourishment. This writing, and not writing.
I put the donuts in the oven for 8 minutes, as directed, but that turned into 12 minutes. Lie oven.
In the meantime I prepared the cooling rack and the topping: white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon.
And then I had donuts. I dumped them out onto the cooling rack and they all spilled out without protest.
Then another batch, then topping. First melted butter with a splash of cider (which was not in the recipe but suggested in the comments for extra flavor), then the sugar mixture. Then I picked one up and took a bite.
I kept the music off.
There is quiet in cooking, in really seeing the blue of the kitchen towel, the soft crunch of sugar on a donut. Maybe being in the kitchen gives us that quiet world, the room to listen, to hear our own voices, even if they still don’t have any answers. Even if they just bring us back from that dream of the mind, remind us to take the donuts out of the oven, to dip them in sugar, to take a bite.