Memories of donuts!

Remember when it wasn't sinful to eat donuts for breakfast?  Sunday's sermon involved the story of our associate pastor talking about his memories of stopping at the local donut store on his way to school.  He went on to tie this to lent and avoiding temptation.

The memories came rushing back immediately for me.  As a tiny 'bonie Joanie' I would take a nickel from mom and dad most mornings and stop at Smitty's donuts on Keo and 19th in Des Moines, Iowa on my way to St. John's Catholic Grade School.  Ahhh, the smell! Smitty's has been torn down for generations, but I can still imagine the screen door, often propped open because the small donut factory was always so warm inside.  They had huge windows along the sidewalk where you could watch them make the donuts.   As you entered the store there were two donut cases in a  "V" shape....and my favorite, cake donuts with white or chocolate frosting, were on the left.   I would have to keep my donut in a sack til after church.  Since I attended Catholic school, we went to Catholic mass every morning, and in pre-Vatican II days, that meant we were required to fast for 3 hours prior to Holy Communion.  And everyone had to go to communion...if you didn't that meant you had committed a mortal sin!

In my mind, I can still taste those donuts...their icing!  I joked with hubbie the reason that no other donut has every compared is that the bake shop was probably filled with workers smoking and embedded that special essence in the donuts!  :-)

Those times were pretty treacherous in Des Moines. The late 1950's and early 1960's were times of extreme transition ..gangs, white kids, leather jacketed with knives, were the dangers of our streets.  My earliest memories were hiding in the bath tub with a big old butcher knife until one of my parents would come home; I was a latchkey kid before that term was invented.  I've spoken with a few people from the old neighborhood in recent years and they don't want to talk about those days.

But the memories of those donuts....yum!  Sure wish someone had the recipe for Smitty's donuts!


  1. I grew up in a small town with two doughnut shops. I love the description of yours. I remember riding my bike to the store on Saturday mornings. Ahhh! the smells were awesome. They don't make them like that anymore. Thanks for a trip down memory lane.

  2. My husband and I now live in Tucson, AZ. Whenever we go down memory lane, Smitty's Donuts will always come up. They were delicious! We would go to the bakery and buy them, and for a while there was even a delivery of the donuts to offices. Our office always bought them, and usually everyone would eat at least two or three. I've never tasted anything just like Smitty's.

  3. Its nice to read these write ups and I've never looked for them. Being National Donut Day, I put in Smitty's and came to this. My grandfather was the one who began Smitty's and my last day working next to my dad was in 1979 when the pope came to Living History Farms. There are many tear-filled memories of the shop, but all good ones. Just being able to work w my dad, grandpa, and several cousins is something I'll always cherish.......Dr Kevin C Smith

    1. Hi Dr. Smith! I have tried and tried to find a donut that compared to Smitty's and none ever have. Your family played an important part of my childhood! Thank you for stopping by my blog!


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