Commentary: Why I really, really hate the Cronut
It was a dark day in May when the cultural landscape of these United States was completely altered by a Frenchman with a sweet tooth. It seems like ages ago, really, considering how this tiny little revelation sent ripples through our social consciousness. It was on this day that Chef Dominique Ansel unleashed upon the world the Cronut. It also established the previous day as the last day you could turn on the television or log on to the internet without the stupid thing being mentioned. I miss that day.
I effing hate the Cronut. I have since the day after it came out, when I had heard the 9,234th utterance of the word. I'm sick to death of hearing stories about the lengths people go to get them, whether it's waiting in line for hours like some teenage chick outside Christopher Mintz-Plasse's band's bus, or paying hundreds of dollars to eat what is essentially a combination of what French children and American cops solely subsist on. People scalp them in the streets. On Craigslist, bootleg Cronut sales outnumber solicitations for anonymous plushie hookups. Some are taking the already goofy (but undeniably delicious) concept of a donut burger and ditching the "d" for a "cr". Soon, you'll probably be seeing Cronut holes, or coffee & Cronut stands. Teenagers will start doing Cronuts in their parents' cars in their high school parking lots.
I'm sick of people freaking out about all the knockoff Cronuts that are popping up all over the place. Did you know that you can get a knockoff in Minnesota? Or at Dunkin' Donuts in South Korea? You probably did. Because nobody has shut the eff up about that either.
Turn on the news, and some anchor's talking about the Cronut. Flip to Fallon, he's eating one. Turn to Swift Justice with Jackie Glass, and she's not talking about Cronuts at all, because she's too busy DOLING OUT SWIFT JUSTICE. But Jackie Glass being a hero doesn't stop Googling anything with a C from bringing up an auto-completed field full of Cronut. Even Diablo Cody is likely rewriting whatever hipster script she's working on to include the Cronut equivalent of Juno's "honest to blog". I don't know what I like less: the dialogue in Juno, or Cronuts.
Oh, also: I've never had one.
That's right. This hatred is based solely and purely on people's excessive, incessant, hyperbolic insistence on talking about the Cronut's awesomeness. Non-stop. I would hate almost anything that I had to hear about every single day of my life for four straight months. Even if I weren't a food writer, it would be unavoidable. You'd think it would be the typical trickle-down topical conversation that starts when something's hot in New York: suddenly, LA's talking about it. And food blogs. Slowly, conversations from the East and West Coast make their way through the flyover states, until East Coast murmurs and West Coast murmurs converge in the middle of South Dakota. Then a Jay Leno writer hears about it there, and suddenly Jay's mumbling, "Have you heard about this Cronut?", and then it's done.
But the Cronut's a different ball of dough. This sucker's got more traction than a Goodyear, and it's completely befuddling. This is, after all, just a hybrid of a donut and a croissant. Sure, it's probably pretty tasty. But is it wait-in-line-all-day delicious? I wouldn't wait in line all day even if it meant Kate Upton would baby-bird a Cronut into my mouth at the end.
My home of Portland, OR, is apparently a Cronut vacuum, which is surprising considering that Portlanders are usually quick to adopt food trends, especially mutant foods. We love our donut burgers. Our nacho-cheese dumplings. You'd think that somebody would have figured out how to make a farm-raised, all-organic Cronut knockoff that they could sell out of a cart or something. Yet we've resisted. Are we too cool for the Cronut? I don't think so. Maybe, like me, we're just sick and tired of hearing about the stupid f**king thing. And have been. Since May.
When the pizza bagel was invented, did everybody in the world suddenly think it was going to cure tuberculosis? When somebody finally had the gumption to stuff cheese in a pretzel, did every single talking head from Hoboken to Eureka, CA, dedicate hours of conversation daily to this innovation? No… and nobody loves a Combo more than Jersey folk and pot farmers. So what makes this Cronut so magical? Is it not, after all, just another kind of donut, when you peel the many flaky layers back? How long until it all becomes so bastardized that you're getting Pilsbury Cronut tubes at the grocery store? How many seconds before Ben & Jerry drop their "Goin' Cro-nuts" flavor, followed by the Breyers knockoff?
More importantly, how much longer will the word Cronut be a mainstay of our lexicon?
Hopefully not long. Because a donut is still just a donut. There are so many variations: the long john, the old-fashioned, the braid, the glazed, the jelly. A donut isn't a specific thing. And neither is a Cronut. It's just a donut. And, eventually, when a Cronut variant is finally in every single gas station, donut stand, and grocery store, you will all realize that, all this time, you've been babbling incessantly about a donut, plain and simple. And probably not even the most awesome one. You'll become sick of eating the flaky, sugary rings and switch back to the fancy innovation's fatter, denser, American cousin. Soon, donut shops will be feeding Cronuts to the cats in the alley behind their shops. And me, I'll be on my third Boston Cream Pie, laughing and biding my time until some jackass unleashes the Pienut on the world. Now THAT would be something.