Friday, September 19, 2014


Marshall King enjoys a Spudnut in Santa Barbara, Calif. (Jay Fields/Elkhart Truth)

A glazed potato donut from a shop in Santa Barbara, Calif. (Marshall V. King/Elkhart Truth)

A sign in the shop explains the potato donut. (Marshall V. King/Elkhart Truth)

Spudnuts in a sugary glaze at the Santa Barbara donut shop. (Marshall V. King/Elkhart Truth)

The morning run along the Santa Barbara beach brought sites of many other runners and cyclists. (Marshall V. King/Elkhart Truth)

The sun shone brightly this morning, Feb. 8, 2014, in Santa Barbara, Calif. (Marshall V. King/Elkhart Truth) (Buy this photo)
Spudnut search ends in Santa Barbara
Posted on Feb. 8, 2014 at 2:02 p.m.

I've been tracking a donut for years.

You wouldn't think it'd be hard to get one. They don't move that fast.

But finding a Spudnut hasn't been easy.

What's a Spudnut? It's a donut made with potato flour. They're served at franchises that bear that name. I grew up in El Dorado, Ark., where I often had the donuts with my parents when I was a kid.

When I became a Hoosier, the Spudnuts became a memory. And yet the taste remains one of my earliest food memories.

I've wanted a fresh Spudnut for about 20 years. It's been that long since I've had one that was just out of the fryer.

Twice in Charlottesville, Va., I was foiled because the shop was closed.

I was tempted to drive to Elyria, Ohio, to get one, but hadn't done it.

The shops are more prevalent in California and there's one in Santa Barbara, two miles from the hotel where the Dining A La King group was staying.

So this morning, Feb. 8, Jay Fields and I ran to the shop, got donuts, and ate them under a palm tree in our shorts and short sleeves.

And then we ran back. It's the first time I've ever run with a bag of donuts. I've shared the donut holes with others in the group. Only John Alter shared the childhood memory of the donuts, but they enjoyed the fresh, glazed donuts. I called my mother in Indiana as I ate them. She said she was jealous.

Tracking a taste of childhood is a dangerous proposition. How will it compare to the memory?

The donuts are as I remember them.

Tender and sweet. A hint of the vegetable oil from the fryer. And a nice glaze or chocolate icing.

I was happy to taste childhood again.

I'm hungry. Let's eat.