- Posted by Gazy
- Mon, 09/06/2010 - 21:56
To dunk or not to dunk.
It seems that the earliest public dunking was performed by Eddie Cantor in the 1931 movie "Palmy Days", although there is evidence that Ronald Colman dunked his doughnut in coffee is as early as 1928.
Prior to that, people would sink cakes in their coffee. These "sinkers" were the precursors of the dunkers. For confirmation, on 1 April 1888 the New York Herald (pg. 9, col. 6) stated: "Or they can get a cup of coffee and some cakes for ten cents. The facetious patrons of the restaurant call these cakes "sinkers," because if they were thrown overboard they wouldn't float."
Actually, dunking -or sinking- solids in liquids, such as bread in broth or crackers in gravy, etc. is something that has been done for centuries (really?), but dunking in coffee is a more modern custom.
My grandfather told me that in the Middle East, back in the 1910s, it was customary to mix honey and sesame seeds then dunk bread in it.
As with all human eating habits, several questions are raised.
Is it polite -or elegant- to dunk?
When should you dunk, and when not? And where?
What can be dunked and into what?
As to the politeness, I'm pretty sure that there are some stiffs who would rather not see you dunking, but I believe that dunking is a good eating habit, so I'd do it whenever and wherever I feel like it.
Now, in respect to what to dunk into what, there are several suggestions, some even made by gourmet experts. The "dunkers" can be almost any food in liquid form, such as wine, coffee, tea, soup or broth, chocolate and cold milk. Some liquids are ruled out completely: beer, booze, sodas and cough syrup. The "dunkees" are almost any type of dough-based foodstuff like cookies, crackers, doughnuts, biscuits and maybe even muffins, although these are too crumby for dunking.
Here's a list provided by thekitchn.com:
Cocoa and Toast (of course!)
Milk and Cookies
Coffee and Biscotti
Coffee and Doughnuts
Tea and Biscuits (the hard "digestive" kind)
Wine and Taralli (hard Italian biscuit-cookies)
Vin Santo and Biscotti
Another point not sufficiently stressed is heat. Beware of dunking custardy stuff into hot liquids because the sugar tends to get too hot and cause burns. For evidence on this risky issue read: http://tinyurl.com/lj2ba8. The Telegraph publishes a survey about "biscuit related injuries" which tells the cases of many Britons being burned at dunking.
My favorites are biscotti, oreos (separated and the custard removed, as it is official) and baguette into coffee or chocolate.
Post so we can see who dunks what into what.
Heirloom Coffee LLC | Wed, 10/13/2010 - 09:42
I was truly saddened by the demise of the Dunkin' donut at (where else) Dunkin' Donuts, having been a dedicated dunker for decades. I believe in Dunking and I say, to very loosely paraphrase Samuel Clemens and his comment about having to buy a new suit for a job, "Any company you are dining with who objects to your dunking habits might be some company you would want to dine less with."
There is a definite consistent of baked good that works well for dunking in coffee. Biscotti is excellent, because you need the dunkee to hold together after having soaked up enough of the coffee to provide a good taste of both items. Timing is everything, or you will be staring at a left-over mass of crumbs and coffee in the bottom of your cup. What's your dunking IQ? Might be a good evaluation point for a prospective mate.
sherman8r | Fri, 09/24/2010 - 10:49
When it comes to dunking, I think the Swiss elevated it to a whole new level with the introduction of a special pot and forks. If you are old enough to remember the 60's-70's, you might remember the fondue pot. I don't see these in stores anymore, but back in the day it was part of every young couple's kitchen.
In this elegant form of dunking, we lit up the fondue pot with alcohol and poured in the cheese, then skewed French or Italian bread cubes on our special forks and dunked them into the melted cheese. We had whole cookbooks suggesting all kinds of tasty additions to be added to the melted cheese, but plain was best. The risk to burnt fingers was all but eliminated by this use of skewers.
For dessert, the pots were filled with chocolate. Then we stabbed our forks into all kinds of things: fruit chunks, cake pieces, doughnuts, soft cookies that were stab-able with the fork, cinnamon rolls, and just about anything sweet, and dunked them into the melted chocolate. Accompanied by a nice hot coffee, with Kahlua added, one could forget for a moment how poor one was. This was the life! Definitely, To Dunk!
I love to dunk bread or whatever I have in hand into a hot cocoa, but my favorite is dunk in salty plates.
I love to dunk bread into the delicious sauce left in the plate after finishing a pepper steak or a saucy spaghetti¡¡
I am a salty dunker ¡¡
EricBNC | Tue, 09/07/2010 - 18:42
I live near the home of Krispy Kreme Donuts where dunking is the only way to fly - these donuts are fluffy dry but turn to mush when wet. Eating a dunked Krispy Kreme involves elements of the slurp to pull it off without making a big mess - immediately as the gooey lump surfaces from the cup you meet and almost inhale before it falls apart. This type of skill is what sets us apart from the apes.