Perhaps it’s my indefatigable insistence that The Simpsons is the only television show - animated or otherwise to ever sufficiently reflect and simultaneously critique modern society as a whole in any sort of philosophical or sociological depth (feel free to challenge me on this point; for those outside

The Simspons scope of influence,

I’ll cut to the chase: Homer, the lead character, loves donuts.

Or maybe it’s my fond childhood memory of making cake-style donuts on weekends with Mom and Dad, topping each warm donut with a decadent slather of homemade chocolate frosting, and letting the frosting just barely set before taking that first warm bite.

And there’s the recollection of early-adolescent stirrings of coffee drinking, when something sweet invariably accompanied our joe (and a Dunkin’ Donuts sat right on the path between my house and my best friend’s house - my choice in those years: the cruller).

Some people can place moments in time via song.

For me, it’s donuts.

But I just don’t eat donuts like I used to (these days, when I do, it’s a glazed chocolate cake donut) probably for the same reason that I no longer indulge in my years-old habit of nonchalantly scarfing a Snickers every afternoon with my coffee.

Once I hit about age 32, despite my attempts at regular exercise, such indulgences inevitably added a little extra Buddha to my belly.

But when is a donut not a donut?

Perhaps when it’s more than just a donut.

Regular readers of these pages will likely recall that I have a small place in my heart for the Super Donut line of fortified sweets and pastries created by retired Pittsburgh Steeler Franco Harris (he is reportedly known as “Franco ‘Super Donut’ Harris” around Pittsburgh these days; see http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06111/683885-28.stm for more info.). Although the donuts still (unfortunately) have a decent chunk of calories (220), they’re fortified with 14 essential minerals, vitamins and protein (the boxes list this blend as “MVP,” for obvious reasons each donut has 7 grams of protein and zero grams trans fat.

Harris developed the formula with research assistance from Penn State (his alma mater, where he earned a B.S. in Hotel & Restaurant Management in 1972).

I also heard something about him looking to open an organic restaurant in an abandoned building in a troubled part of downtown Pittsburgh, not far from where he has lived.


Anyway, back to the donuts.

Considering my track record, it’s no surprise that I was intrigued by a press release that crossed my desk a couple of days ago on caffeinated donuts and bagels.

In the past, I’ve had some of the caffeinated mints that have hit the market from time to time, and they always left a bad taste in my mouth - literally.

But evidently the folks behind these products have overcome that hurdle .

I had the idea for caffeinated pastries several years ago, but the bitter taste of the caffeine would always overwhelm the flavor. I eventually worked with some flavoring experts and designed a method to mask the bitterness, which led to successfully adding the caffeine equivalent of one to two cups of coffee to the food item.