Doing Your DoughNut

Somebody says, ‘I couldn’t do what you do’.

They mean sit in the Outpost, detached, distanced. Lonely, mostly.

The assumption being, of course, that that is what I do: sit. Just sit.

But I don’t. Sit. (I mean I do: but never for long).

They gesture the pool, ‘do you ever use it’.

Every day I say. ‘I swim nearly a kilometer every day.’

I should swim, they say, I need to get fit.

I don’t swim to get fit. I swim to keep sane. 

And I don’t sit still for fear that staying in one place for too long might mean I become rooted to the spot.

Finding your niche is good. Getting stuck in a rut isn’t.

Funny that.

So I have found a peculiar kind of groove in Outpost life. One where I keep moving for fear my demons will catch me and gobble me up.

Do you read much?

Yes. But never during the day. Only late at night.

Do you watch the television?

Yes. But only after dark.

I sound like a control freak. But I don’t care. I’m not disciplined. I just know that direction is the only thing that keeps me going. Keep moving. Forward. Towards the light.


Hat and husband ask, ‘have you written your blog lately?’

Not much, I reply, ‘I don’t think I have much to say’.

They don’t argue the point.

They live here too.


But they prod my conscience. You can’t just give things up in the Outpost or you might give up altogether.

And so I help Hat make doughnuts. We roll and cut dough cool from the fridge.

We watch it bubble satisfactory and dance a jig in hot oil.

‘Always be very careful when you are deep frying’, I tell Hat, because it seems important to use the exercise to teach her something she didn’t know. (Because sometimes the worry festers: should I hold her captive here?).


And I don’t know why. Except that it’s very hot.

‘Because it will give you a nasty burn.’

We scoop golden doughnuts from carefulitdoesn’tburnyoufat and drop them onto sheets of newspaper and dredge them in icing sugar and Hat say, ‘look, like a snow storm’.

And then we eat them. For tea.

And we put one aside for her dad and when he comes home he will applaud our small act of warm domesticity because he knows how hard it sometimes is to put one foot in front of another when you’re not entirely sure where it is you’re going.


The garden has yielded a crop of leeks. Feathery-sage-strappy leaves atop cottonwhite bulbs.

I harvest a handful to accompany a roast chicken for supper.

I slice them into fat pennies and toss them into a pan with some herbs.

Sautéed leeks, I think.

And then I get distracted. By an email. By something Hat says. Thumbing a text message. Because I can’t sit – or even stand – still and patiently sauté.

Until I smell smoke.

And I look into the pan and the leeks are near charred.

But leeks from your own garden are too precious to chuck out. Especially in an Outpost.

So I serve them up with a flourish: caramelized leeks I tell my little family.

And they eat them with relish.

My accidentally caramelized leeks.

My secret.


15 Responses to “Doing Your DoughNut”

  1. nuttycow Says:


  2. Potty Mummy Says:

    They look great. And not to jump on a bandwagon because our lives are so very different, but I know that feeling of keeping moving to prevent stasis so well…

  3. Mud Says:

    Cooked with love trumps accidental caramalisation any day.

  4. Grannymar Says:

    You brought back memories of the days when I made doughnuts with my mammy. She was also fond of accidental caramalisation too!

  5. Rob Says:

    Good to see you back on line. Doughnuts look good – much better than the tasteless stale ones you get here in the supermaket. I could not agree more – it is important to keep busy, esp doing creative things, in order to keep the demons at bay!

  6. Kit Says:

    Caramelized leeks are good – we’ve had them once or twice too. I’ve never made doughnuts before though.
    Cooking is a great thing for one foot in front of ht eother forward motion – I’m getting myslef going with baking the Christmas cake this weekend – before December for once.

  7. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    thanks nutty: they were. Yum.

    aaah. Potty. Thank you. i suspect there are lots of us like that – concerning ourselves with direction regardless of geography?

    thank you Mud!

  8. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Grannymar – glad it prompted happy memories. i expect alot of mums accidently caramelize all manner of things …?

    thank your Rob. Yup. One foot in front of the other …

    Oooh Kit. You are clever. Well done. and Good luck!

  9. rosiero Says:

    I actually prefer caramaliszed leeks and when they have cooked, add a small knob of butter, a teaspoon of sugar and turn up the heat for a few minutes while I serve everything else up!! YUM.

  10. R. Sherman Says:

    And we put one aside for her dad . . .

    Oh, for the day I get one doughnut from the dozen brought home. They’re usually ancient history by the time I even notice the box from the bakers. Of course, that’s to be expected with my brood.


  11. Mwa Says:

    What a lovely post. I get so lonely being the only housewife I know, and I will build my whole day around the school run, or a trip to the supermarket. I can’t even imagine not having that. x

  12. A Modern Mother Says:

    Those donuts look REALLY good. That is absolutely one of my favourite things to make. Yum.

  13. AnyEdge Says:

    Hello RM. I gave you an award today.

  14. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    ooooh thanks Rosiero, must give that a bash. and try not to burn them beyond caramelization …

    only the one mind, Mr S, only the 1. If you’re not here when they’re ready, hot out of the pan, chances are it will ony be the one!

    Thank you Mwa. You probably have little idea how much a comment like that bolsters me x

    Thanks MM; they were. Clever Hat. I had very little do with it. other than be bossy!

    AnyEdge, that’s very kind – thank you.

  15. Iota Says:

    I’ve missed you, but I do understand.

    Youngest has started school, and I have 6 hours a day to myself now. These things ARE a challenge, no matter how feeble they seem to those people whose lives are so busy that even finding time to write a blog post is a difficulty.

    In bygone ages, having leisure time was seen as a mark that you’d arrived in life. Now, being too busy seems to be that mark. Busy = important. How did that happen?

    I like it though. Having time, in a mad world, where most people don’t (or choose not to). I like it for itself, and I like it because I feel I am fighting a counter-cultural battle, and it’s always fun to be subversive. When I get emails from friends saying “you’re probably wondering where the time goes, isn’t it odd how it gets filled up?”, I used to reply “gosh yes, I’m just running around like a mad thing here”. But I’ve changed tack. I now say “I have space and time in my life to do things at a leisurely pace, and I really love it”. I often don’t get a reply…

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