It was a morning ritual. It didn’t hurt anybody and it imparted a mild, somewhat guilty joy; a harmless addiction ameliorated by a trace element of goodness.
Since I have to drive early on Tuesdays to York University for “Music and Culture” lectures, I treat myself to one, simple pleasure. I approach the doughnut drive-through window and order my usual, to go: “A large coffee with milk and a chocolate walnut cruller, please.” Just saying the words was cathartic.
On this particular morning the thin, crackling voice came back to me through my lowered car window with a terrifying edict, “We do not serve the chocolate walnut cruller anymore Ma’am.”
A tiny wisp of my spirit perished.
I approached the pick up window composing myself and asked, “Why have you discontinued the walnut cruller?” The simple answer came back: “The walnuts cost too much Ma’am.”
Stunned, I clutched the hot paper cup and the surrogate apple fritter and drove off, disturbed, into the morning hubbub.
The incident gave me pause to think. How many small concessions just like this are made on a daily basis in my city? It seems that an imperceptible chipping away at nutrition for the sake of miniscule monetary savings may eventually carve out any quality of life, any trace element that really feeds us. The metaphor extends to chipping away at larger aspects of simple, daily life: swimming pools for children; libraries for curious seniors; music and art and story telling and theatre and dance that feeds our souls – nutrition for the heart and mind of our city.
After the walnuts are gone, there are not many treats worth eating – everything left on the shelf is merely sugar and starch. If asked, I surely would have paid the extra 3 cents to have the meager traces of protein the walnuts provided to fuel my work that day.
Is this too simple a formula: from each according to his ability; to each according to his need?

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2 Responses to Tragedy of the Walnut Cruller

  1. rICHARD bIRNEY-sMITH says:

    I am not a fan of walnuts but had the same experience last year when Kellogg discontinued Vector Bars in all flavours other than chocolate. Chipping away at the quality of life is continuous. Perhaps our snacks are not very important but the swimming pools, libraries, and accessible art and music are very important. I would not be who I am today if I had been forced to be able to afford those things when I was a child. Accesibility to some of the finer things of life must be available to all or we risk becoming gradually less civilized.

    • Stephanie Martin says:

      The drive-in drama came to a sudden end today. Dufferin and Glencairn “Country Style” doughnut shop has closed for good. My walnut cruller is now only a fond memory : (

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