Culinary trends have a way of trickling down. Those innovations initially found only at select fancy shops or restaurants suddenly begin appearing in rogue forms everywhere. Case in point, the “cronut,” Dominique Ansel’s ingenious combination of the croissant and doughnut. It wasn't long after the craze kicked off that I ate a cheap variant thereof at a gas station.
Recently I had a similar experience while wandering aimlessly (as is my wont) in Kroger, which, it turns out, has expanded its line of in-house donuts. The new types on offer, however, were strangely familiar, and not in the “yes, strawberry is a tried-and-true choice for an icing flavor,” but rather in the, “that design is delicious...but not yours.” It seems the bakers at Kroger have looked to famous donut purveyors Voodoo Doughnut for inspiration.
Started in 2003 in Portland by locals Kenneth Pogson and Tres Shannon, Voodoo Doughnut quickly became famous for its circular pastries with quirky toppings such as kids’ cereal (e.g. fruit loops), marshmallows, bacon, maple frosting, crushed peanuts, and pretzel twigs.
All of the aforementioned serve as garnishes for Kroger’s “new” donuts. And while the curmudgeon in me gets cranky in the face of such bold-faced borrowing, I do recognize that imitation can be a delicious form of flattery. These sugary facsimiles ain’t half bad and satisfy one’s craving for a wackily dressed doughnut until Voodoo Doughnut opens a branch in Houston. (Psst, Voodoo, take the hint!)