Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Sugar Mamma's Building a Happier Toronto One mini-Donut at a Time

Taodhg Burns of TorontotheBetter recently spoke to new TorontotheBetter entry, Sugar Mamma's Mini-Donuts

With a last name like Vroom you likely have some energetic cultural genes going for you. In the case of Wade Vroom’s collectively operated Sugar Mamma’s Mini-Donuts there’s no doubt the small edibles come with a big charge. Actors and performers as well as donut makers, the Sugar Mamma collective, made up of two performer couples, combine creative high spirits with down home delicacies and some distinctive organic ingredients. Sugar Mamma’s donuts get a special taste buzz from the organic coconut oil they’re cooked in. When I asked Wade Vroom of new to TorontotheBetter Sugar Mamma’s Mini Donuts how they contributed to a better Toronto he was hesitant, maybe out of modesty, but the chat I recently had with him confirmed one thing for me: happier people make a better city. And donuts make people happy. Don’t forget that in Bhutan gross domestic product is secondary to gross happiness as the key measure of national prosperity. When Sugar Mamma’s take their donuts to the Saturday morning farmers’ market at Wychwood Barns, they find that grandparents and children lead the way to their donut dispensing cart. And we all know that bringing children (willing spoilees) and grandparents(willing spoilers, nostalgic about their own childhood) together, is a happiness recipe. In fact, when most of us think of our childhoods for many of us donuts are up there with ice-cream as things that made us smile the most and reconciled us to the long spells of idleness and parental orders . As Wade pointed out, kids are small, like mini-donuts. Unlike when with many adults, they feel they’re among equals with the mini-donuts.

But it’s not just the mini-donuts that make Sugar Mamma’s a Toronto builder. Their donuts come to you; you don’t have to go to them. Instead of one month a year at the Ex, the Sugar Mamma’s folks can bring you 12 months of donuts from their cart each year. Using the idea of a year-round mobile donut service they got from a Texan friend, they injected dynamism and convenience into the basic guiltless feelgood pleasure of donuts. Need to add some happiness to your event? Call for the Sugar Mamma’s cart ahead of time and they’ll come.

At a time of much anger and economic tension in Toronto, following a G20 military occupation of our city, maybe it’s important to point out that mini-donuts, with their relatively mini price-tag, are for everybody. They’re pleasures that pretty much anyone can afford. And the oil from pesticide free coconuts they use mean these donuts are healthier as well as sweet . While the coconuts have to come from out of country, until Toronto does something about the sun, the oil is processed by a local farmer in Ontario, so as well as guilt free sweet stuff we’re also talking about the local economy . For Wade Vroom that home component is important. And if you want coffee with your donuts, Sugar Mamma’s will be providing fair trade coffee. All in all, we’re talking about collectively managed healthy pleasures that contribute to the local economy. If that’s not a recipe for social justice I don’t know what is.

Oh yes, we know donuts have a downside; obesity if you eat too many. In fact, there’s no healthy eating programme we know of where donuts play a prominent role. But as with most things, moderation is the key. If we must have donuts, and it seems to be a law of human nature that we must, then let’s not eat too many. Mini-donuts save us the effort, with their built-in mini-induced rationing effect. As a friend of mine pointed out, the effort and time required to eat enough mini-donuts to make us fat would make most of us think about alternatives for our donut fix, if fullness is our goal. But, you have been warned! By all means have your donut feel good high, but do it in a healthier, TorontotheBetter way.

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