Paula Deen had nothing on Rhode Island. The recently deposed queen of fat and sugar may have preached the doughnut burger, but the Ocean State revels in its fried cake, like the giant doughnuts at Allie’s in North Kingstown.
I spent much of my life indifferent to doughnuts (with the exception of sugar-glazed, microwaved for exactly 8 seconds and consumed in a diner at 3 a.m.). But my sister-in-law, Christine, is something of an aficionado, procuring large, themed doughnuts for events (and sometimes just for lunch) at the Rhode Island public library where she works. The campfire doughnut above, captured here on her blog – yes, she has a doughnut blog — was part of a family celebration this weekend that took place around her fire pit.
New England in general loves doughnuts. In my experience, it’s a lot easier to find a Dunkin’ Donuts there than a Starbucks. But Rhode Island seems to have a special relationship with the yeasted confections. As evidence, I submit the following: 1) In Providence, the sports arena is called the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, even though the company is headquartered in Massachusetts; 2) This clip from the animated comedy Family Guy, which takes place in the fictional town of Quahog, R.I.
Our pals at Serious Eats note that the state has just over a million people, but more than 200 donut shops. In Providence, there are 25 shops for every 100,000 people.
Sure, many of these shops are chains like Dunkin’ Donuts and Honey Dew. But there are lots of independents like Allie’s. (AFR’s Bonny Wolf took a look at the summer doughnut phenomenon for NPR.) Allie’s, of course, does not have a website. It’s one of those “only-in-Rhode-Island” things, where you pick your doughnut design from a binder full of photographs.
Checkout the heartfelt tributes to this special place on Yelp, as well as a report from the traveling eaters Jane and Michael Stern. Allie’s Facebook page also contains gems such as this recent suggestion for using your Allie’s leftovers:
“Start with a day-old cruller. Split in half, wrap in foil and warm in oven. Make an omelet with white cheddar cheese folding the sides towards the center so it’s shaped correctly. Place a slice of bacon and the omelet on the warm cruller – pour a tall glass of milk …”
See, Paula Deen isn’t gone. She’s alive and well and living in the North. Like Elvis.