My favorite “food writer” story is a donut story. I’d been trying and failing for months to stay away from sugar and gluten. Then, finally, one special week, I managed it. That week stretched to two. Then three. I’d been going on 24 days without gluten or sugar when I showed up at Sidecar Donuts in Costa Mesa, California, to write a story about their donuts. Or rather, one donut: browned butter and sea salt.
As I arrived, the Sidecar crew took a whole rack of donuts out of the fryer, added glaze and salt, and brought them to me. A full dozen just for me. I remember taking one bite and feeling the world compress and expand, like that Spongebob meme. I started to sweat. My skin prickled. As someone who has plenty of experience to draw from: Eating a donut straight from the fryer after the better part of a month without gluten or sugar was like a drug.
My deadline for profiling the taste of this donut was just an hour from when I took my first bite. So I sat down, flipped open my laptop and started writing, while still literally shaking from the increase in blood sugar that comes when you break a gluten and sugar-free diet with a rack of fried gluten, coated in sugar.
In this haze, I decided “I’ll analogize the donut to an orgasm, but like… slyly.” I wrote the piece and filed it, thinking it was subtle and clever. The next month I saw the magazine I was writing for on a rack and grabbed a copy.
My article wasn’t subtle. Or clever. It was… orgasmy. Waaaaaay too orgasmy. I called my editor, cringing, “My article about the donut… was it a little — ”
“Orgasmy? she asked. “Yes, it was. But we didn’t have time to change it.”
My cringe worsened. So I called a woman at the donut shop, who I’d gone on a few dates with. “That article,” I said, “was it a little orgasmy?”