I was sitting in a coffeehouse the other day as I was writing this and drinking an espresso.   A coffee house is a natural place of relaxation and contemplation. You know, where the cool kids hang out.   I like to people watch when I’m writing sometimes. And if you do too, you’ll notice what people tend to eat when they are drinking coffee.  People are munching on potato chips, having a salad, or opening their mouth wide to devour a sandwich.

You can always tell when someone is eating a sandwich because there is usually a pickle involved.   But, on that day, I was reminded of a time in my youth when I believed that donuts were the ultimate food..

Sunday Donuts

In some circles, donuts are the epitome of fine food especially after Sunday services at the Old Tyme Gospel Church.  Donuts were used to entice sinners to linger longer after Sunday worship service so that they would feel welcomed into the church family.  The after service social gathering was also used so that the regular customers ….. church family… would put money into the offering plate, or make a monthly donation of 10% in tithing to “the ministry”.

Fish and Donuts

Me and Billy, the preacher’s son, always made a beeline to the donuts after church.  We would grab a dozen or so in a couple of napkins before the old people lined up.  After we grabbed our food, we headed to the back of the church property to a stocked fish pond, full of catfish and bass. We sat on a wooden pier built by Billy’s dad and ate our donuts.   Occasionally, we would tear off a piece of donut and throw it into the water.


Monsters Likes Donuts

“I think that was Godzilla.  It’s good to know he hasn’t been caught yet.”

Billy named fish after monsters based on their size, and how aggressive they were when fighting for a piece of donut.   We trained the fish to expect this feast every Sunday – because the church social always happened after Sunday morning services.

Old People and Donuts

The  old people inside the church were standing in line to get donuts and coffee, chit chatting about the weather and about their Sunday afternoon activities.  What they really wanted were the sour cream donuts. Brother Heskett was of course standing guard over a plle of cake donuts prepared by Sister Mix. Sister Schubert brought some of her Apple Dapple Coffee Cake, which was basically a donut in a cake pan.

Billy and I, however, were content sitting outside in the afternoon sun and watching fish jump into the air trying to catch a piece of donut  You could see the fish lurking just below the surface with their fish faces – positioning themselves based upon where the last piece of donut landed.

Animal Training with Donuts

Godzilla was a big catfish who only came up from the bottom of the pond on Sunday afternoons.  I became convinced that donuts would make great fish bait based upon his behavior – just like a rolled up piece of wonder bread, but better because it was donut.

Better than Bread

I’m sure the fish knew the difference between donuts and a plain piece of wonder bread.   There were of course other animals who tried to get in on the action. Ducks and geese were always swimming above the fish on the surface and the fish sometimes had to knock a bird out of the way to get the food.  Sometimes, both fish and bird went for the same piece of donut and a fight would ensure.

Food FIght

Nothing is as glorious to a kid on a Sunday afternoon than watching a fish and a duck fight for a piece of donut after church.   In fact, it was the only reason I looked forward to going to church. Sometimes, I would get up off the pew and tell my mother that I was going to the restroom, and I would go check on the critters in the pond.   They were there – gathering for the coming feast. . There were also other animals in the pond who also joined the party. Snapping turtles and frogs were not as fast as the fish and ducks, but they knew that the opportunity to get a piece of a good donut wasn’t something to ignore.

Camping with Donuts

And so it happened that one weekend, when my father and I were going camping on a fishing trip and would miss Sunday services that I had the idea of asking my father to bring donuts for breakfast.   He wasn’t sure that bringing donuts was a good idea.   He liked to cook eggs, bacon and burn toast on the fire for breakfast when we were camping. I had plans, however, to test a theory.

My father’s idea of fishing involved rubber worms and spinning lures for catching bass, or using something he called stink bait for hooking catfish.  I took a few donuts and put them aside during breakfast after eating a couple, and had some of dad’s famous fried potatoes with scrambled eggs, with crumbled bacon.

Donuts on a Boat

My father was surprised when I took a few donuts with us on the bass boat.  He had prepared PB&J sandwiches for our afternoon snack – which we ate after were were on the water a few hours.   The donuts I selected were cake donuts – because they were dense and the consistency was appropriate for hand pressing them into tight little balls that could be fixed on a hook with a sinker for fishing.

When my father stopped the boat at our fishing hole, we sat there and prepared our lines.   I chose a depth of about 3 feet for my donut bait, put on a line sinker and pulled out a donut

“JW, what are you doing with that donut?”

“Dad, I’m going to catch me a bass – and I bet I’ll catch one before you do.”

Bassmaster In Training

My father’s eyebrows raised in disbelief.   He had seen me use wonder bread in the past in a feeble attempt to catch bass using this method and he shook his head with a “Okay, what makes you think you’re going to catch a bass with a donut?”

“Watch this” I said as I threw a small piece of donut into the water.   Nothing happened at first and my dad chuckled. Then, the donut disappeared by a smooth wake of a passing fish.   My father looked at the water as I tossed another piece of donut where I had thrown the last piece. There was another pause.  And then.


Donut Bait

I looked at my father and smiled as I pressed a piece of donut into a small ball and put it on the end of my line, and then threw the line into the water near where I had tossed the earlier piece of donut.

Thirty seconds later I was pulling in a large mouth bass, grinning from ear to ear.

My father changed tactics after I pulled in my second fish and gave up on his fancy plastic worm that he yanked and pulled trying to mimic the action of a live animal.

Fish are not Stupid

Donuts are fish food.