ABC to XYZ in Foods: Dips, Dates and Doughnuts

file photo
Apple Cider doughnuts with vanilla ice cream.
file photo Apple Cider doughnuts with vanilla ice cream.
Bette Banjack
Bette Banjack

DOUGHNUTS/DONUTS – Dutch Pilgrims brought the “olykoek”

to the new world. Because they were made of fried dough, they were also called “oily cakes.” The centers of the cakes rarely cooked even with the rest of the cake. There are several stories of how the “olykeok” got a hole punched in the middle to allow the cake to cook evenly. My favorite is that a sea captain had a problem steering his ship and eating his cakes. Using one of the spokes of the steering wheel, he pushed a hole through the round cakes to make what became the doughnut and stacked his cakes for easy reach on the wheel.

Most of the doughnuts consumed today are commercially made. Doughnuts were usually fried, but with health concerns, baked doughnuts have come to be popular. Not quite as good as fried, they are still a treat.

DATES – The kind you eat and not the going out kind. Dates are the berry fruit of the date palm tree. They are most abundant and the oldest plant in the Persian Gulf area. Dates are high in carbohydrates, fiber and calories. When baking with dates, first coat them with a small amount of flour from the recipe. This keeps them from dropping to the bottom of the batter. In baking, you can substitute raisins for dates.


A holiday treat that has been making a comeback is filled dates. To make, slit a small hole in each date. Shove a whole salted peanut in, roll the entire date with peanut in granulated sugar. Another great idea is to fill the slit with fondant, roll in sugar.

DIPS - Have become very popular in the last several decades. They are quick and easy to make and are a big hit at social gatherings. The bases for most dips are cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise, adding seasonings. It is fun to create new and different containers in which to serve the dip. This recipe is easy to prepare and makes a great appetizer for special occasions. My good friend Fran Doyle shares this recipe with us:

Seafood Dip in Bread Boat

2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese

1 can (medium) shrimp

1 can crabmeat

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. chopped parsley

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

garlic salt to taste


1 loaf of Italian/pumpernickel/rye bread

Open and drain shrimp and crabmeat. In a medium bowl, cream the cream cheese. When soft, add lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and a little milk (if necessary). After thoroughly mixed, add seafood and parsley.

To prepare bread, cut top off of bread. Scoop out inside of bread and fill with cream cheese mixture. Replace the bread lid on top. Wrap in foil. Bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours. Cube the bread from the inside for dipping. It can be reheated.

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