Is the doughnut innovation craze getting (deliciously) out of control?

June 5, 2013

Here’s what we’re reading/watching today:

This photo provided by Dunkin' Brands, Inc., shows the company's glazed donut breakfast sandwich. (AP Photo/Dunkin' Brands, Inc., James Scherer)
This photo provided by Dunkin’ Brands, Inc., shows the company’s glazed doughnut breakfast sandwich. (AP Photo/Dunkin’ Brands, Inc., James Scherer)

1) It’s not just you. New doughnuts, it seems, are popping up everywhere. There’s the cronut in New York and the doissant in D.C.—both are a croissant-doughnut combo. Dunkin’ Donuts has a Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich, and then there’s “The Foie Bomb”—a foie gras mousse-infused doughnut. Perhaps it’s nothing, just the doughnut becoming the new cupcake. But we’re pulling out the innovation card. Oh, and Friday is National Donut Day.

Of course, innovation in food isn’t new. Just check out the work of Chef Jose Andreas (he’s moving his America Eats tavern to Tyson’s Corner, Va. by the way), or the team at America’s Test Kitchen. Science and invention is inherent to cooking. There are, of course, more serious innovations in food. Recent reports of genetically engineered wheat, and resulting import bans, are a case in point.

But back to the doughnuts. The Foie Bomb is a creation of California-based Psycho Donuts, reports ABC’s Alan Farnham. Its inventors are Charlie Ayers, former executive chef at Google, and—hold on for this title—Psycho Donut’s Doctor of Donut Derangement Ron Levi. Supplies are limited to the amount of foie gras mousse Levi can get, and, in probably the least innovative (but most surprising) move, Psycho Donuts will be giving away the bite-size creation, penetrated by a glass vial filled with fig, honey and balsamic gastrique. That’s right, doughnut fans, the Foie Bomb is free. Well, that’s partially due to the fact Californians passed a law in 2004 banning the controversial practice of producing foie gras (which involves force-feeding ducks) and selling it.

So, there’s that.

The move has attracted protests, hardly a new thing for the store. As ABC’s Farnam reports, the National Human Society has spoken out against the company’s foie-gras related doughnut invention. While the San Jose Mercury News’s Chris Vongsarath reported in 2009 that the National Alliance on Mental Illness joined local mental health groups in protesting the store’s name, which they said would have forced a shutdown of the store if it had played on a disease other than mental illness.

The Foie Bomb will be handed out at the store’s Campbell and San Jose locations on National Donut Day—just in time for swimsuit season.

So, there’s that.

2) Lifehacker’s Thorin Klosowski outlines what  he deems the best productivity tricks practiced by inventor Nikola Tesla. Kloswski goes through writings both from and about Tesla to put together the list, which includes taking time for a walk and taking some time to be alone.

3) The Design Week Awards have been announced, with AKQA taking the top prize for its  Ugokidase Tokoyo project. The work done for Nike Japan won both the Best of Show and Digital Installations award. The project was undertaken to promote Nike’s products, including its Nike+ Fuel Band in the lead-up to its Japan launch. You can check out the full list of winners over at Design Week.

4) The Daily Dot’s Mike Fenn breaks down how a subreddit went from humble beginnings to one of the reddit’s most popular features. Fenn chronicles the the success of r/secretsanta, which led to Redditgifts.com. The site was then acquired by Reddit in 2011—the first the company ever made—and in November 2012 Reddigifts Marketplace was born. The Marketplace is mean to serve as a centralized location for users to exchange gifts online, and it appears to be turning into a serious merchandising hub for Reddit as well as providing vendors with a viable marketplace, at least for now:

“The concept of slapping smiles onto the faces of strangers through gifts has proven quite successful for the marketplace, which currently boasts more than 170 vendors. They sell everything from1980s T-shirts to, of course, Reddit-themed gifts.”

5) And another astronaut has taken on a popular song. This time, however, he has two feet firmly planted on terra firma. Here’s famous Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin singing (but not quite … okay, not at all, really) “She Blinded Me With Science” alongside Thomas Dolby at the Smithsonian’s The Future is Here conference.  Thanks, io9. Thanks, a lot.

Oh, and SCIENCE!

Here’s Dolby singing the original over on MTV.com.

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Dominic Basulto · June 5, 2013