Food

My American donut habit has followed me home to India

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An employee takes a donut from a display cabinet at the Dunkin' Donuts store in New Delhi, India.

An employee takes a donut from a display cabinet at the Dunkin' Donuts store in New Delhi, India.

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Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

I have a sweet tooth, I admit it. Growing up in India, my mother always made great sugary snacks.

I loved them so much that sometimes I’d go for days on end without eating real food — although my mother scolded me for that. I’d wake in the morning and the first thing I would do after brushing my teeth was put a gulabjamun in my mouth. It’s like a donut-hole, dripping with sugar syrup. 

It got so bad that my mother started hiding sweets from me. She’d stick them deep inside the fridge, behind the big milk pot. But I always found them.

I’d also buy sweets from the shops. Every time my parents sent me out to get yogurt, I’d buy a quarter pound of jalebi, deep fried batter in the shape of a pretzel.

There was always a guy with a gigantic belly frying jalebis right in front of the yogurt shop. I couldn’t leave without eating a bowl full of them. I don’t know what the calorie count was, and I don’t even want to think about the cholesterol and trans fats.

When I moved to the United States, Indian sweets weren’t that easy to find. But I quickly found an alternative — donuts.

Many times I didn’t have to look for them — they found me: Morning meetings at work, house parties, samples at grocery stores even at the farmers’ market — donuts were ever-present.

I put on several pounds in the first year or so and my cholesterol levels shot out of control. My doctor advised me to stay away from donuts. And I’ve mostly kept to that.

I am back in India now and am tempted to try donuts, but this time Indian ones. Dunkin' Donuts and Krispy Kreme are now selling donuts in India that I’ve never seen in America — stuffed, topped and glazed with distinctly Indian flavors, such as rice pudding, saffron and crushed pistachios.

There goes my cholesterol.

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