In Canada, the donut is often thought of as the unofficial national
food. Donuts are sold at every intersection and rest stop,
celebrated in song and story as symbols of Canadian identity, and
one chain in particular, Tim Horton's, has become a veritable icon
with over 2500 shops across the country. But there is more to the
donut than these and other expressions of 'snackfood patriotism'
would suggest. In this study, Steve Penfold puts the humble donut
in its historical context, examining how one deep-fried
confectionary became, not only a mass commodity, but an edible
symbol of Canadianness.
Penfold examines the history of the donut in light of broader
social, economic, and cultural issues, and uses the donut as a
window onto key developments in twentieth-century Canada such as
the growth of a 'consumer society, ' the relationship between big
business and community, and the ironic qualities of Canadian
national identity. He goes on to explore the social and political
conditions that facilitated the rapid rise and steady growth of
donut shops across the country.
Based on a wide range of sources, from commercial and government
reports to personal interviews, The Donut is a comprehensive and
fascinating look at one of Canada's most popular products. It
offers original insights on consumer culture, mass consumption, and
the dynamics of Canadian history.
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