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See Inside April 2007

Doughnut Try This at Home

Tinkering with a classic can sometimes go awry, or possibly even pumpernickel
Steve Mirsky



FRANK VERONSKY
People love to tinker. And so they often combine already good things to come up with newer, seemingly even better things. Iodized salt. Vitamin D fortified milk. Fluoridated water. Now add a newcomer to the list of such hybrids: the caffeinated doughnut.

Currently being marketed under the trademarked name Buzz Donuts, the caffeinated doughnut is the brainchild of one Robert Bohannon, whom a press release about his invention describes as a "molecular scientist." (Is there any other kind?) By the way, I had been under the impression that I invented the caffeinated doughnut long ago when I cleverly dipped a doughnut into a cup of hot coffee. But apparently not. (Not to mention the time I was victimized by the false dichotomy of assuming that I could develop a self-cleaning oven by simply never cleaning the oven myself.)

Anyway, Bohannon's early attempts to add the life-affirming zip of caffeine to baked goods led to literally bitter defeat: "They were terrible, absolutely horrid," he was quoted as saying. "It would just make you puke." Eventually Bohannon hit on a process by which to mask the tart taste when the stimulating alkaloid was added to a recipe. (Bagels with a boost could also be on the drawing and cutting boards.) The advent of the caffeinated doughnut necessarily makes one wonder what else might be improved by the addition of the right beneficial agent. Here are suggested amalgamations for other molecular scientists to develop.

The Saltpeter Oyster. Enjoy the taste, texture and possible cholera infection to be found in oysters without the pesky alleged aphrodisiacal effects. (And for an equal and opposite effect, try the Viagrafied lutefisk.)

The Premustarded Hot Dog. Ever balance a hot dog and drink in your lap at a baseball game while fighting the guys on either side of you for a precious piece of armrest? Trying to manipulate mustard packets under those circumstances would challenge Kali. A thin river of mustard within the frankfurter would be a blessing and could probably be achieved cost-effectively by using syringes confiscated from the players.

The Depilatory Deodorant. An infusion of the powerful hair remover calcium thioglycolate into deodorants or antiperspirants could be a real morning time saver if you're hitting the gym sleeve?less. Should be available in small, medium, large and Robin Williams hirsute economy size.

The Nitro Cheesesteak. Love the shaved beef cheezwizardry to be found at Pat's or Geno's in funky South Philly, but hate the feeling of chest-cramping death? Cheesesteaks laced with nitro?glycerin should allow customers to eat with hearty abandon. (While researching this item, I discovered that nitroglycerin, which achieves its medical ?effect through blood vessel dilation, is in fact being added to a brand of condom slated to soon hit the market, thus giving unfortunate potential new meaning to the expression "explosive orgasm.")

Doughnutty Coffee. Doughnuts leave powdered sugar on your shirt and pre?sent a small but serious choking hazard. But who doesn't want something sweet with that morning cup o' joe? How about adding the classic American on-the-run breakfast item to coffee--in liquid form! Doughnutty coffee would give commuters the easy-to-handle morning meal they need with their caffeine, while leaving a hand free with which to drive, apply deodorant or perform a Heimlich maneuver on anyone gagging on a chunk of dry doughnut.

Look for Anti Gravity: Allegedly Humorous Writing from Scientific American, an anthology of these columns, published April 1. No fooling.

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