Saturday, 3 January 2009

The Doughnut Shop

When I was about nine there was a shop down some steps on the opposite side of the main road (Bowring Park Road, Liverpool) at end of our road. I cannot recall what it was before that time or afterwards (though GB may remember) but for a brief, heavenly period it was a The Doughnut Shop.

It contained a couple of deep-fat fryers like a chip shop and sold only doughnuts. You went in and they cooked the doughnuts to order in the space of moments. Sprinkled with sugar, the hot doughnuts were a real delight to a young boy, fresh from a day’s schooling.

The original doughnut is said to have been a solid sphere of deep-fried dough with no hole in the middle. Allegedly first thought of in Germany, the idea was taken to America by the Dutch settlers. In the early 19th Century Washington Irvine described a Dutch table in New Amsterdam as being set with “an enormous dish of balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog’s fat, and called dough nuts or oly keks.” (In Scouse Oly Keks would mean marble trousers but I assume that is an irrelevancy!)

Spherical doughnuts often have jam in the centre while the Doughnut Shop used to have various alternatives for the ring-shaped ones. My favourite was the one sprinkled with caster sugar but they also had ones with a sugar glaze; a pink icing coating; icing and hundreds and thousands; and, I think, a chocolate coating...


  1. They did do chocolate topped doughnuts. The shop was referred to as 'Down the Steps' to differentiate it from 'Up the Steps' the bakery at the Rocket (out of which I was thrown as a child for referring to Eccles Cakes as fly cemeteries). The shop was at one stage a pet shop. I think that was after it was the Doughnut Shop. Apart from that the memory banks are not producing a result.

    If one goes to one of the street markets in the Dordogne these days there is often a stall with a doughnut machine which drops circles of dough into hot fat just like the Doughnut Shop. The difference is that the machine and the doughnuts are both a lot smaller.

  2. Sounds heavenly! My one overriding memory from a visit to Kendal as a child (other than it rained non-stop) was the doughnut shop. It was still there a few years ago when I went to Kendal with Bryony, although now it is called FOOD and also sells sandwiches. Well worth a visit though if you are ever in the area.

    I remember the treat of the small sugared doughnuts when we went to the annual Feast of Lanterns camping event. As GB said a small machine pumping out small doughnuts which were then drained and dumped into a bag with some sugar. Once I had hold of the bag I couldn't wait for them to cool at all but eating them while they were warm enough to melt the skin on your fingers was a challenge!

  3. Hi Mark, I should have guessed you would comment on a food oriented posting!!!

  4. Thanks, GB. I thought it was called 'Down the Steps' but wasn't sure if my mind had invented that! Glad to have it confirmed.

  5. Sounds like you went to Charters Bakery. You went down three steps from the road and up three steps into the shop.
    Like GEEB I too 'got into strife' in that shop, mind you I was only three and I had demolished the window display of bread, cream cakes, doughnuts and assorted goodies with my 'Yogi Bear' hobby horse !!!!!! oops. Oh memories .

  6. No, John, the doughnut shop was directly opposite the end of Renville Road. Unlike Charters which was at The Rocket, it was run by a most pleasant couple, a thin woman and a bloke who had probably consumed one or two of his own doughnuts.