The neighbor lady who lived across the street from us when I was in elementary school often hosted backyard parties for neighborhood children.
She was not married and had no children of her own.
I don’t remember how she got us to clean her house for her. But, she made fresh doughnuts in an electric frying pan at the end of the afternoon.
She told my mother once what a big help I was around the house and how thoroughly I cleaned for her.
My mother, unused to any but required chores from me, was taken aback.
Clearly, my mother did not understand the allure of working for someone else, in a strange house, with the promise of fresh doughnuts that we ate as soon as we watched them come out of the pan.
And, I never thought to repeat this reframing of housework to a fun, limited-time activity, with a reward at the end with my children.
Did you have any favorite neighbors? What did they do that endeared them to you?
What did you do to live on in the memories of the children in your neighborhood?
I hope my old neighbor knows how much I treasure the memories of those fresh, homemade doughnuts. We moved before I was old enough to understand how rare this treat was.
If you would like to start such a tradition for your grandchildren, here are several doughnut recipes to get you started.
- Secret Doughnut Recipe: Easy, don’t have to wait for yeast to rise, 7 ingredients, video instructions
- Glazed donuts: traditional yeast doughnuts like my neighbor made, with glaze
- Alton Brown’s Yeast Doughnuts: easy-to-follow instructions
- Applesauce doughnuts: quick, moist, easy
- Kneecaps: fried donuts with an indent instead of a hole.
- Grandma’s Doughnuts: use biscuit dough-in-a-can for easy doughnuts
- Cinnamon spice balls: like doughnut holes, but easier
Can you smell the doughnuts cooking?
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To you and the children whose memories you live in.
Carol Covin, “Granny-Guru”
P.S. If you don’t have time to make your own, but do live near a Krispy Kreme store, find out when they are coming out of the oven. Or, 15 seconds in the microwave returns them to just-out-of-the oven goodness.