Krispy Kreme: deciphering a phenomenal donut


The American global giant Krispy Kreme has just set up shop under the canopy of the Forum des Halles, and fans of these round, golden donuts with a hole in the middle, covered with different icings, are already flocking in droves. “There is a real craze for this colorful, joyful, carefree, Instagrammable candy, which appeals to urban youth who want to stand out through what they eat,” analyzes Jean-Louis André, author of “Tell me what you eat. “A history of France at the table” (ed. Odile Jacob). There is a real politically incorrect side to street food, which explains its success. The donut is the anti-poké bowl, varied and balanced. »


Transgressive, the nice donut with multicolored toppings worthy of a children’s birthday party? Yes, because, from a cuddly treat made within the family circle, the American donut – imported from Europe at the end of the 17th century – has become the emblem of fast food, loaded with yeast and chemical colorings, whose content in sugar and fat would make the first dietician shudder. A heresy in France, country of good eating and gastronomy? “That’s the official Franco-centric discourse,” says Élisabeth Debourse, author of “American Appetite. Journey into the belly of the USA” (ed. Nouriturfu). The French continue to say that they make the best cuisine in the world but, in practice, they constantly take other dishes from abroad. »


This emblem of American soft power carries with it a whole mythology. “It’s a pop culture icon, with its references to The Simpsons and the cops in American series who share their box of donuts with their colleagues,” recalls Élisabeth Debourse. There is also a real resurgence of interest in US food in France, with the club sandwich, bacon-eggs-cheese or grilled cheese, the American version of our good croque-monsieur. We should not think of the donut in terms of taste, but in terms of attitude: it speaks of relaxation, of letting go, of the desire to breathe…”

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