And Gutenberg Lived Here: When Is A Donut A Cannonball?

One of the more interesting facts about living here in Gutenberg Land,

is the number of times you find out

that something you always considered 100% made in the good old US of A,

is supposedly-

made in Gutenberg Land.

ie the refrigerator,

the Linde company is in a tiny town called Kastel (from the Roman Castellum)

and claims to be the oldest.

And then there is the light bulb-

supposedly not Thomas Edison.

Or Bush Bavarian beer-

dear to a St. Louisan’s heart,

the Bavaria actually being here in the Rhineland-Palatinate,




And did you know that Bruce Willis is actually a German citizen-

well may not really, but he was born in the Hunsrück town of Idar-Oberstein,

a fact that no German EVER refrains from telling an American.

So, as I said, you get used to things that are-

in our history books-


actually being-

in their history books-


But when it comes to the Jelly donut-


the jelly donut?


the jelly donut.

As in-

according to local historians-

it was part of the usual fasting ritual-

never really followed in this part of Germany,

lip service maybe-

but there was a lot of meat and eggs in those large ravioli style dumplings,

and the church apparently knew better than to really ask questions.

In the last weeks before fasting, though,

lip service, remember-

everyone dived into donuts-

like the famous pancake races in England-

the last chance to get milk, eggs, flour and fat out of the house.

But how, you ask,

or maybe not,

did they know what to do with all that milk, eggs, flour, and fat?


according to German legend-

sorry, but since I did all this research, I have to use it somewhere-

ok so according to German legend,

a baker once wanted to become part of the army artillery in his town.

Good hours, not too much killing there, better than carrying a pike,

heavy clothes and shoes in winter.


they had no place for him.


still trying to get a place,

even though he, by that time, was married and had children,

he and his children  took small fried dough bits,

shaped like canon balls, hint hint,

around to the troops

who had to stand watch in the night’s freezing winter cold.



he was still a baker,

but now had a large amount of contracts

for the now world-famous Krispy Kreme-

well, may not really Krispy Kreme,

but donuts they were-

without hole.


since I’m a good St Louis girl,

well, at least slightly west of there,

who spent a lot of time in those days at the library,

and the great St Louis museums,

and reading stories put out by the Smithsonian,

I know that the first donuts brought to the new world,

the oelykakes,

were brought by the Dutch,

to New Amsterdam,

now called New York,

and had a hole cut into the middle so the centers wouldn’t be so soggy,

or were filled with nuts and dried fruit-


and thus ended up as-

no, not Krispy Kremes,

but still,

they are part of a large tradition in the US,

and even more over here in Gutenberg Land,


in the momentary circa minus one degree cold,

the locals will surely be spending the rest of the carnival season,

in addition to eating oily herring sandwiches,

and bologna rings with hard rolls and wine,

while carousing on the streets,

will be sitting down to the almost formal custom

of the donut coffee-

donuts filled with wine creme, chocolate, nut cream, jam, vanilla pudding,

and smothered in enough whipped cream to give a cow an allergy,

before putting on the company costume-

white wigs with curls, fake military uniforms with fake bars and stars for fake ranks,

or pinafore, rolling-pin and mob cap- for men no less,

or sheets and sheets of newspaper-

today plastic,

cut and wrapped into rows and rows of plastic fringe,

and sallying forth to one of the hall carnivals,

or balls,

or planning meetings,

or political cabaret meetings,

or putting the last touches on the huge floats

shown off to the over a million visitors

at the Rose Monday parade each year.

(Rose is actually Russ,

the black soot they got, historically,

by burning the palm fronds from Good Friday of the last year.

The black stuff, Russ, was used to camouflage faces.)



All this writing has made me hungry.

Time for a jelly donut.

copyright 2017

5 thoughts on “And Gutenberg Lived Here: When Is A Donut A Cannonball?

  1. It’s a ‘Jam Doughnut’ in ‘proper’ English ! … “You say Jello and I say Jelly” … As the old song goes I think ? … I’ve had ‘jello’ served with my salad in the USA … Disgusting ! :-).
    BTW .. In response to your suggestion, I did once write a book. HarperCollins turned it down .. “Interesting and amusing, but not commercial” ! .. Thanks Lin for the birthday greeting, …. John

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup. Those donuts can be distracting. Especially when they are being hurled at you from a two story tall parade float on Rose Monday. As to Bruce- what can I say? A lot of show folks are “Army brats”, and there is an American ‘casserne’ complete with hospital, just a few blocks uphill from the center of town. I’m just suprised the good folks of I-O haven’t built him a statue, though, now that I think of it… Maybe next year.

      Liked by 1 person

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