Everyone’s got a Kink(ling)
I have fevered dreams of warm, yeast-raised dough. I lust for sweet treats. I have openly drooled at a fresh mall-food-court-cinna-roll dripping with sugary white fluff on top and melting down the sides. I have moaned loudly and embarrassingly while eating a chocolate chip cookie, fresh from the oven and soft, falling apart with the middle as one big lump of melted chocolate. I have lurid daydreams about icing. Not just the fancy icings that chefs make on those British baking shows, I’m an aficionado of grocery store birthday cake icing, especially the corner piece. I’ll fight you for a corner piece with an extra piped rose on it. When it’s munchie time, I’ll take sweet over salty. All day, every day.
Walking Orbit the Pug down 5th Street one blustery winter afternoon last year, I happened to pass the Salvation Army at 223 W. 5th St. A flyer on the door caught my eye. Well, a word caught my eye: kinklings. “WTF is a kinkling?” I thought. Luckily, I had my trusty pocket computer to answer my query within nanoseconds.
I saw topics that related kinklings to fastnachts. I’m originally from Pennsylvania, my grandma was Pennsylvania Dutch from Boyertown. I grew up eating Pa. Dutch killers like Pig Stomach, sweet Lebanon bologna with chunky peanut butter (don’t judge!), scrapple, half-moon pies, birch beer, and whoopie pies. The best day of the year in Central PA elementary school was “Fastnacht Day” when we got a doughnut with our lunch. I know fasnachts. Apparently, kinklings are the Fredericker variation on sweet yeast dough fried in fat and dusted with sugar made at the start of Lent. Oh, yeah!
I called and asked if it was too late to order a dozen. The sweet lady on the phone: “Of course not!” I really dig this town. “With sugar, or without” she asked with a chuckle and a wink though the phone, already knowing the answer, I think.
Hot Kinkling Day(!) came several weeks later. I walked into the basement of the Salvation Army and was blasted in the face with a Game Over combo of laughter, smiles, yeast and hot fat (BTW, I’m claiming the name “HotFat” for my future Dad Band).
The people of the Salvation Army were incredibly warm and caring, even in just the few minutes I spent picking up my new treasure, delicious powdered sugar/grease slurry already appearing through the paper sack. The woman who handed me the bag confided that they “got done early, because we had some men helping this year. They fried outside!” The story only added to the doughnut aura.
I ran home like I was being chased by Scut Farkas.
I opened the bag of the still-warm bulges of heavenly powdered fluff squares, crispy around the edges, super soft everywhere else. Un-friggin-believable. We ate six standing over the sink. OK, OK, OK, I ate five and the wifey ate one, shut up already! They. Were. Worth. The. Wait … and more. Good, fresh, warm, sweet and made with care. Grandma would have loved them.
So, so much better than DD and on par with the pros at KK and the bougie doughnut shops popping up in every city. The wonderful people at the 5th Street Salvation Army proved once again that the most important ingredients in any dish, as I’ve always known, are care, pride and love. Make sure you get your dozen, or two, or three ordered early this year.