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Sunday, January 30, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Week #5 - Favorite Food

Geneabloggers - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Week #5 - Favorite Food, by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants. Week 5: Favorite Food. What was your favorite food from childhood? If it was homemade, who made it? What was in this dish, and why was it your favorite? What is your favorite dish now?

My Grandfather started his career as a Baptist minister. But in his middle age, he began losing his voice and this was before churches had "sound systems". The doctor told him he would have to give up preaching or lose his voice entirely. At his age, he didn't know what to do next.

One of his daughters, my Aunt Judy, was working at a local swimming lake and the man who had the concession stand at the lake also owned a diner in town. Aunt Judy told her father that Mr. Zimmerman needed someone to run his diner. So my Granddaddy got the job and he and Grandmother worked at Zimmerman's Diner. He learned how to make donuts at Zimmerman's. They had a small round fryer so they could do about a dozen or two at a time. Those homemade donuts were a hit with the customers.

Grandmother and Granddaddy making donuts at Zimmerman's Diner.

Within a couple of years a man who had purchased a Krispy Kreme Donut franchise for Spartanburg died. His wife wanted to sell it. My Granddaddy asked Mr. Zimmerman if he would be interested in going into partnership and buying the Krispy Kreme franchise but Mr. Zimmerman declined because he already had enough on his plate. So my Grandfather bought the franchise and opened up in a little brick building a block from Spartanburg General Hospital (now known as Spartanburg Regional Medical Center). He and Grandmother worked there and they hired their son-in-law and Judy's husband, Cecil Bradley. The rest of the family also pitched in when needed. I remember taking naps in the back room on bags of donut mix and sugar while Mom worked.

My Grandparents in the back room of the original KK building.

They had a machine that rolled out the dough and cut it. But people still had to pick up the donuts and place them on racks to rise before frying and coating them with sugar. As kids we would stand next to the ones picking up the donuts and we would pick out the holes. I remember when I was old enough to reach and was able to pick up 7 donuts at a time and put them on the rack.

Rolling out the dough and putting the cut donuts in the wooden boxes on the right to rise. Then the racks are pulled out of the wooden boxes and fried. Lastly they are sugared and the freshly sugared donuts are racked in the racks on the left.

Before my parents and our family moved to Spartanburg, we never got snacks. A bag of potato chips and a Coke were rare and mostly brought by my grandparents. Once we moved to Spartanburg, we got to have all the donuts we wanted and drinks. I loved Orange Crush. I have fond memories of bottles of Orange Crush and donuts and potato chips. I was 8 1/2 yrs old when we moved to Spartanburg and got to have snacks like that!

My Grandfather at a meeting at the KK headquarters in Winston-Salem, NC

Uncle Glenn and Uncle James helping out at the original KK building

When I was 9 yrs old (1968), my grandparents had done so well that they were able to build a new donut store closer to downtown on N. Church St. The new store had the most modern machinery for making donuts. You mixed the dough and put it in one side and the donuts came out, fried and coated on the other side. It was such a marvel to us.

Notice how she's having to jot up the prices for a total?

When I was 11 yrs old, I began to work a couple of afternoons a week at Krispy Kreme. My 2 younger sisters were interested in learning how to ride horses. To take horse back riding lessons, they needed some money. Elaine and I started working at KK and my paycheck went to pay for our youngest sister's lessons because she was too little to work at KK yet. Elaine paid for her own. My first year's paycheck went to Melinda's lessons but then she started working herself and paid for her own lessons. I worked at KK until I was 19 yrs old.

We had to add up the prices of donuts in our head because we didn't have the fancy computerized cash registers! We had to "make change" and Granddaddy insisted that we count it all back to the customer.

We had to wear white uniform dresses with stockings, white tennis shoes, hairnet and a cardboard crown with a little apron. The little aprons were soon replaced by full white aprons. But it was high school before we were allowed to wear white uniform pants instead of dresses. I think Granddaddy's granddaughters, being ogled by old men, changed his mind on that. Pants were much easier to wear when working and you weren't showing so much leg!

I've processed donuts (doing things like dipping them in chocolate, pumping them with jelly, etc), cleaned, sold, cleaned, processed, cleaned, sold, made coffee, cleaned, did I say "cleaned"? There is always a lot of cleaning involved in a service business like a restaurant!

My Grandfather died and my Grandmother gave her oldest son controlling interest. After her death, he bought out the other sibling's shares.

Uncle Glenn is standing in the parking lot of the old KK and behind him is the old tire store. That old tire store was torn down and the newest KK store is now there.

He's raised his family and made a nice living with KK. About 5 years ago, he built a new store across the street from the old one. The old store built in 1969 is still there. He keeps it up and uses it for storage. Once again, the new store has the latest technology for making donuts and it's a marvel once again!

Nearing the end of construction on the new store.

My favorite donuts: hot, fresh plain cake donuts, vanilla iced cake donuts, plain glazed donuts especially hot and fresh! Somtimes I get a hankering for a raspberry or chocolate custard filled. I used to be able to eat anything and not gain an ounce but not any more, so I have to ration my donut intake. I get a few each year. Yummmm!


Amy Coffin, MLIS said...

This post is awesome on so many levels. It's a great bit of your family's history. Plus, there are pictures of yummy donuts! Thank you for participating in this week's blog prompt.

Susan Petersen said...

This is a great photo essay!! Thanks so much for sharing with the rest of us.

Peggy said...

Thank you! It was so good of you to share these fantastic photos, memories & history!

Janet Lankford said...

I remember my Dad taking us to Zimmerman's for a hotdog, Coke and, of course a doughnut. Mama would be shopping at Belk and he would take us there to get us out of her hair. There was a window where you could see the hot doughnuts sitting on a rack with sugar glaze dripping from them. One of my fondest memories.

Margaret Robbins said...

This was so interesting! I love history and history of anything Spartanburg is a real treat to me. I had forgotten that Krispy Kreme used to be so close to the hospital, where my Dad worked for 22 years. Your post reminded me that he brought me a box of doughnuts from Krispy Kreme one late afternoon to try and soothe my hurt feelings when he forgot to pick me up from school one afternoon. I had been standing in the school yard waiting for hours when he finally arrived. It was beginning to get dark and I went from being scared to hurt and from being hurt to being mad. But the doughnuts helped :)

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