Dunkin’ Donuts: Minus the Donuts

Whilst driving through life, I noticed stores by the appellation of Dunkin’ began soaking up the roadside real estate faster than a biscuit in coffee. What ever could this noun-less, transitive verb be referring to? Upon connecting the donut holes, I experienced a maelstrom of emotions; It was none other than my arch nemesis, Dunkin’ “Donuts,” embarking on its long awaited rebranding mission.

Dunkin’ is doing us all a favor by ridding itself of the false moniker that has been noticeably paling from its former full name. Donuts used to be made fresh in the back of every Dunkin’, but the company has since lost its quality touch and therefore its privileges of associating itself with donuts. Many customers from older generations return to Dunkin’ after a fully understandable hiatus and are shocked to discover that fresh donut production in the back of every store stopped in 1996 and was converted to centralized regional bakeries.

The only faction objecting to Dunkin’ dropping the Donuts is of those who wish to uphold proper grammar in the English language. “Dunking,” or “Dunkin'” as the coolest of the cool kids are saying it, is a form of the verb to dunk, which is a transitive verb – one cannot just be dunking, you’ve got to be dunking something. If it’s no longer a donut, what is it? I have no choice but to assume it refers to “Dunkin’ on these hoes.” To avoid this conundrum, or perhaps to avoid expending any unnecessary energy, the company’s hometown of Boston affectionately just says “Dunks.”

Terrible but nonetheless addicting DD Munchkins.

Dunkin’ “Donuts” sells nearly 3 billion donuts every year (almost impressive but they include the tiny munchkin sales in this figure) and yearly offer over 70 flavors varying per regional tastes. With the demotion of donuts from the iconic brand name, many unique treats will be setting off into a vat of fried oil for the last time, sailing away on their viking funerals with no commemoration, no fanfare, witnesses or tears. It is a sad moment for culinary creativity, but an improvement for quality cuisine.

I fully support the dropping of the donuts, but I do feel betrayed. Lied to, led on, hoodwinked, hornswoggled. You get the idea. In an effort to prove America Runs on Dunkin’, the brand teamed up with Saucony to create a donut sprinkle running shoe that sold out in three days, back in 2017. Then, after deciding it doesn’t want to be associated with donuts, the 2019 Dunkin’ running shoe still features two donuts in the design. May we celebrate the removal of donuts from Dunkin’ or not? The community would like to know!

To write this post, I had to dig deep into my zen and think from a place with no bias, no flattery nor falsity, just honest truth. I went into an Astavakrasana asana and held it until I surpassed meditation and reached sub consciousness.

It was a good place to contemplate where my donut obsession started. I believe it traces back to Ohio, where a donut was a dry Entenmann’s with cheap fudge or powder or glaze proffered among an array of other homeroom party snacks. I was awakened at 19 by a New York City artisanal donut, with the first bite being akin to the first kiss that woke Sleeping Beauty. My eyes and mouth had opened and couldn’t be closed; I was unstoppable discovering a whole new world of overpriced desserts and avant garde flavor combos. I no longer had to touch the frayed part of the electric cord just to feel something. I was finally living.

Post-enlightenment, I now try a Dunkin’ “donut.” It is like…

  • Like the dough was made from scraggy wheat barely surviving the great dust bowl.
  • Like plastic fell into the baking mix and that’s why it refuses to dissolve in my mouth.
  • Like I stepped into a donut noir comic book and all flavor was zapped from the colorful pastries.
  • Like canned filling from an expired apocalypse survival kit was used for the custard and jelly.
  • Like my tastebuds jumped off of my tongue and ran away in terror.
  • Like artificial chemicals were baked into every ingredient of the donut down to the oil it was fried in, and thus a Dunkin’ “donut” was born.
Coworker’s birthday heyyoooo.

Dunkin’ “Donuts” is primarily consumed when a large amount of food is needed for cheap, ex: you don’t actually want to spend money on your coworkers but the thoughtfulness of bringing in breakfast will make them think you like them.

Unlike Krispy Kreme, which has app notifications and a hot light they turn on when fresh doughnuts are ready, Dunkin’s “donuts” are shipped in every morning, presumably from the local rubber factory. DD remains a popular workplace snack as they offer the nostalgic idea of a donut and pair well with morning coffee. But is it worth it? To enjoy the idea of a donut without it being a real donut? Can we confirm these are not donuts?

If you find yourself at a Dunkin’ “Donuts” dying of starvation with no other choice of sustenance, get the french cruller. It is SUPPOSED to be light and fluffy like that, and it tastes like eggs. Even better, get it over with in one massive bite because it will dry out fast.

After sampling several of the above flavors, I discovered that the apple pie donut had a fake filling so riddled with artificial flavoring my grandma was shaking in her rocker. The bumblebee donut served its purpose best as a wrist rest to help alleviate my raging carpal tunnel.

I’ll try any gimmick. Even when I know from the start that it’s a terrible idea. Summer 2018, Dunkin’ “Donuts” tried to make a pass at donut fries, to which I give a hard pass. I didn’t even bother with McDonald’s attempt at donut fries in 2019, the mere association of something so esteemed with something so disparaged elevated my hackles to no end.

I knew this would be disastrous going in, and I had no one to hate but myself.

The donut fry exhibits the honeycomb interior of a fluffy pastry, but is served limp and quaggy, an accurate embodiment of the melancholy transferred to my disposition upon the first bite of my donut fry.

If you’re in the mood for a cinnamon sugar donut shaped like a french toast stick without the syrup, have a churro! This Americanized abomination is merely a cheap attempt at recreating the wonderful churros as we know and love them. Realizing that maybe there are some donut hybrids that just aren’t meant to be, I walked away perplexed and disillusioned, and also sticky.

Proud Lion King Moment in front of the New York Stock Exchange.

For National Donut Day (the real one), Dunkin’ “Donuts” offers a free donut with any coffee purchase…. But I think their coffee blows. For a company that claims to uphold the twin ideals of an American breakfast of coffee and a donut, they’re not giving visiting foreigners a dignified representation of what this country has to offer.

Never one to pass up something free or something donut, I participated in this gluttonous celebration of National Donut Day. I headed over to salute the New York Stock Exchange with my purchase & prize, as eating donuts is a great American pastime.

I don’t think I have ever described a donut as scrawny, but this one was. I have eaten a donut in two bites because it was tasty, but never because it was deflated. It’s like Tom Brady is the head baker of the Dunkin’ “Donuts” regional bakeries, sucking excess air out of the donuts before serving them.

To reiterate, if at any point I was unclear in my assessment, Dunkin’ “Donuts” dropping the donuts is doing society a favor. They are no longer worthy of calling themselves a donut shop. It’s a godsend they know it too.

And so the world progresses.

My Rankings

Flavor: 2/10 – Please see above perspicacity for explanation.

Bang for Buck: 7/10 – Dunkin’ “Donuts” are quite cheap, usually hovering around $1 per item. So why the deduction of points? You would be better off planting that dollar in the dirt than using it to bring a waste of calories from Dunkin’ into your life.

Aesthetics: 5/10 – This chain of establishments has a classic donut shop smell to it, but because of the number of locations (over 11,300 franchises worldwide), they aren’t anything special. Also I look gauche in orange and hot pink and would never be able to pull off their brand on an article of clothing.

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