(NEXSTAR) – They sure don’t bake ‘em like they used to.
Dunkin’ Donuts has introduced — and discontinued — a wide variety of doughnuts since its first shop opened in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1950. But some customers might be old enough to remember one particularly innovative doughnut that has since gone the way of the dodo: the signature “Dunkin’ Donut,” which included an edible handle.
The original idea for the “Dunkin’ Donut” came about back in the 1950s, according to “Time to Make the Donuts,” a book co-written by Dunkin’ founder Bill Rosenberg. As the story goes, Rosenberg approached his top “donut man” Johnny Spartos with the idea, telling him that a doughnut with a handle would be easier for patrons to dunk in coffee.
“He said, ‘Oh no, no, no Bill. You can’t do that,’” recounted Rosenberg, who claimed that Spartos was worried the doughnuts wouldn’t cook correctly if they weren’t ring-shaped.
“I persisted, of course,” Rosenberg remembered. Sure enough, Spartos relented, and the “Dunkin’ Donut” was added to the menu.
Despite being only arguably better for dunking than a ring-shaped doughnut — and likely not as functional for dunking as a stick-shaped doughnut — the handle-inclusive Dunkin’ Donut remained on the menu in at last some locations through 2003, when it was discontinued nationwide, a representative for Dunkin’ told Nexstar.
“It was unique and fun. It stood out in the back case,” said Ken Kimmel, an executive for Dunkin’s then-parent company in a statement obtained by the Houston Chronicle in 2003. “But over time, with all the different varieties of doughnuts we’ve introduced, it wasn’t as popular as it had been.”
Brand Eating further reported that Dunkin’ phased out its Dunkin’ Donut because they needed to be cut by hand with a special tool, and couldn’t easily be replicated by an automated machine.
Whatever the case, Dunkin’ nixed the Dunkin’ Donut in 2003 and introduced the Old Fashioned Dunkin’ doughnut — which, as Kimmel told the Houston Chronicle, was nearly the same thing without the handle.
Still, Dunkin’ fans have been sharing fond memories of the discontinued doughnut on Twitter as recently as this week, with one calling it a “real treat.” Emily Post, on the other hand, would probably have been happy to see the demise of the Dunkin’ Donut, as she once went on-record with how much she despised the practice of dunking.
“Dipping a great round object into a coffee or teacup and then biting into this sopping object is about as bad an example of table behavior as could be found,” Post wrote in a 1941 newspaper column. “But I can say to those who evidently think a doughnut sopped in coffee tastes better than a dry doughnut, that you could drop a mouthful at a time into the coffee and then lift it to your mouth with the spoon.”