The other day, I made a batch of yogurt cardamom donuts with strawberry glaze. I had tried to make them several times, but thanks to a lack of cake flour and a bad encounter with a shower of broken lightbulb shards, it didn't happen. I adapted the Top Pot old-fashioned sour cream donut recipe to make them, but the finished product wasn't what I was hoping for...
The thing is, I know a good donut. I wasn't a fan until I studied in Galway and experienced hot donuts that were fried golden brown, simply coated in either cocoa or cinnamon sugar, but had the most ethereal texture I've ever experienced. They were so soft that they nearly melted in my mouth. On my last day, I bought a dozen and shamelessly ate each one through tears [half for leaving Ireland and half for leaving the Donut Man].
And, for the past few months, I've been spoiled by working at Federal Donuts, meaning that I willingly get up at 5:30am on Sundays and bike halfway across the city to be surrounded by flavor combinations of halvah pistachio, pomegranate nutella, chili mango, mandarin coffee, and strawberry rhubarb pie. The donuts are cakey and soft and hold up well to glazes, but fried fresh and sprinkled with sugar spice combinations like vanilla lavendar or appollonia spice (think: notes of orange blossom, cocoa powder and clove on a just-fried donut), they simply shine.
My donuts were not good donuts by any means. I tried to pass them off by posting a picture on instagram with all of the ingredients listed, but they were too dry and the flavor just wasn't there. I had written down the recipe with hopes that it would be good, but it wasn't worth sharing.
I was going to start this post with an apology about how I'm not going to include a recipe, but then I realized that saying I was sorry would be a terrible idea. Ya see, I am a chronic apologizer. I'm not sure when it started, but it became terribly apparent recently... so much so, in fact, that when I let an "I'm sorry!" slip, my coworkers will say, "You should be!!" just to show me how unnecessary it was to say.
Apologizing isn't a bad thing when it's done with care and purpose. But, when it's overused, it seems to lose it's value. I've become so desensitized to the phrase "I'm sorry" that I worry that other people have given it a patterned usage too. A friend apologized to me for something pretty serious recently and I couldn't help but wonder if they had just said the two-word phrase because it was the appropriate thing to say or if they had really felt remorse for what they'd done.
It's not that I don't feel bad about things I sorrybomb--for getting in folks' way, for interrupting someone, for assuming things, for not bringing enough cupcakes to share with the group [okay maybe not that last one...]. It's moreso that I shouldn't feel as bad as I do and I shouldn't waste an apology on things that could easily be addressed instead with a "mea culpa," "pardon me," or a butterknife [ya know, to cut that cupcake in half].
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this year's "I'm sorry" was last year's "it's fine." I'd say that whenever bad news was delivered, regardless of whether someone was giving it to me or if I was talking about myself. It was my way of not dealing with the gravity of the situation: "I have two flat tires, but it's fine." "My debit card was stolen, but it's fine." I even said it to a guy I was dating as he broke things off with me. He responded with, "You say that a lot, but it's really not fine."
He had a point. It's not fine to abuse words. I'm guilty of it in other areas too. I'm sure we all are to some degree. So, to me and you and anyone who's read this far: When asking someone how they're doing, ask because you care about the answer [good or bad], not because it's polite. It took a lot to wipe "it's fine" from my vernacular, but I now I hate being asked, "How are you?" because I'm expected to say, "I'm fine," even when I'm not. Sometimes it seems as though people would rather I responded with empty words so they wouldn't have to get a taste of what's really going on in my life. So, if you ask, follow through on what you say. Be prepared to listen.
If you say you're sorry, also say what you're apologizing for. If you're saying it for good reason, it will show the other person that you're being intentional and care about making amends. If you're an overapologizer, it'll show you some of the ridiculous things you apologize for.
I'm not going to apologize for lackluster donuts and a recipe-less post. Sure, my donuts looked the part of a delicious homemade donut--they had the shiny pink glaze and the all-star list of ingredients--but the ratios were off, leaving them as empty in taste and as off in texture as my words had been in meaning and value. For that last part, I am actually sorry.