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11 Mouthwatering Facts About Krispy Kreme

Whether you sold Krispy Kremes as a kid to raise peewee team funds, waited (sort of) patiently for years until the chain hit your town, or have a habit of looking for the Hot Now sign to light up (now, there's an app for that!), there are still probably a few things about the almost 80-year-old company and its famous glazed doughnuts that you don’t know.

1. THE RECIPE FOR PERFECT KRISPY KREMES IS A FIERCELY GUARDED SECRET...

Though their baking methods are fair game, the top-secret recipe for Krispy Kreme doughnuts is kept in a vault in the company’s Winston-Salem, N.C. plant, which also manufactures "the same dry mix used in the 190 Krispy Kreme stores around the country," The Chicago Tribune reported in 2001.

Once a store has its stock of the special mix, doughnuts are prepared on-site using purified water and special yeast that’s from North Carolina, too. Then, "an air-pressurized extruder produces the perfect doughnut shape and gives the pastries a head start on puffiness," the doughnuts rise for half an hour, and finally they’re "fried in vegetable shortening on both sides before being covered in a warm sugar glaze."

Krispy Kreme takes this process quite seriously. In 2010, the company waged battle with the owners of a New York franchise location, charging them with baking treats from their own recipe and ingredients after Krispy Kreme had stopped its supplies, and with supplying the unofficial doughnuts to an "alleged 'rogue' operation" across the river in New Jersey.

2. ... AND WE MAY HAVE AN OHIO RIVER BARGE COOK TO THANK FOR IT.

According to the Duke Chronicle, Krispy Kreme founder Vernon Rudolph most likely got his prized recipe from Joseph G. LeBoeuf of Louisville, an Ohio River barge cook who "was famous for three things: his flapjacks, his coconut cakes, and his light and fluffy doughnuts." After Rudolph had joined his uncle Ishmael Armstrong in Paducah,, Kentucky and before Rudolph set up his first doughnut shop, the two "probably admired the recipe [...] and LeBoeuf would have been flattered to share it—no secret transactions involved."

As far as the Krispy Kreme family and historians can work out, the original recipe likely "consisted of a cream (the eponymous ‘Kreme’) of fluffed egg whites, mashed potatoes, sugar, shortening and skim milk that was chilled and mixed with flour and then fried and covered in glaze."

3. TODAY, YOU CAN BUY ONE IN QATAR (OR 1002 OTHER LOCATIONS).

Founded in 1937 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Krispy Kreme now has 1003 locations (including franchisee-owned ones) and operates in such countries as Bahrain, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Malaysia, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the UK, and the United Arab Emirates—24 countries in total.

4. A NEW STORE’S OPENING CAN CAUSE A HUGE GLAZE RUSH.

If your town’s had Krispy Kreme stores around for a while, you might have forgotten what life was like without them, or just how crazy fans of the doughnuts can go when they finally arrive. When the first Las Vegas location opened in 1998, it sold 72,000 doughnuts the first day and 360,000 by the end of its first week, leading to some serious fan traffic. In the following years, many more lucky U.S. cities made the list of Krispy Kreme locations, and the title for “highest first-day sales” was passed around.

However, the people of Perth, Australia most recently took the honor for themselves, raising the first-day bar right over 73,000. On November 26, 2014, the Krispy Kreme fans of Perth "won the illustrious world record for most doughnuts purchased on the first day of Krispy Kreme trade, replacing the city’s unofficial world record for most Krispy Kremes smuggled on to a Jetstar flight," Australia’s The Sunday Times wrote. Between its 9:30 a.m. opening time and midnight closing, the store moved a full 73,200 doughnuts.

5. CELEBRITIES GO CRAZY FOR THEM, TOO (INCLUDING PRESIDENT OBAMA).

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In 2012, President Barack Obama and his crew were spotted casually visiting a Krispy Kreme location in Tampa, Florida. The president strolled in, picked up three dozen doughnuts to share with a nearby firehouse team, chatted with workers and customers, and bought a little boy some powdered doughnuts.

And President Obama is just one high-profile fan of the chain; lots of other famous faces, including Elvis Presley, have been caught tucking into their doughnuts over the years.

6. THE KRISPY KREME BUSINESS BOOK READS … WELL, A LOT LIKE FAN FIC.

The book Making Dough: The 12 Secret Ingredients of Krispy Kreme’s Sweet Success gives some insight, perhaps, as to why some fans of the chain are so very passionate about its doughnuts.

Despite all of the other sensory pleasures, the climax of the Krispy Kreme experience doesn’t come until you get that hot doughnut in your mouth. … Is a Krispy Kreme like sugar-encrusted air? … Fifty-nine cents of pure pleasure? … Unbridled ecstasy? … Some people devour the hot treat and moan as the last bite slips down the throat. … Some let the powerfully tasty doughnut possess them; their heads loll and their eyes roll at the taste. Others have even cried in joy at the taste, tearing up like a happy bride and groom on their wedding day.

Of course, there’s actual fan fic about Krispy Kreme, too. Those who’d rather eat the treats than read or write about them can become "Friends of Krispy Kreme" in the UK (and get a free doughnut for it), and there’s a U.S. fan club that sends out promos.

7. A "DOUBLE HUNDRED DOZEN" BOX MIGHT MAKE YOU POPULAR AT THE OFFICE ...

Bring in Krispy Kreme's "Double Hundred Dozen" box to your morning meeting and you’ll wind up with 2400 Original Glazed and, most likely, some very happy coworkers (though they might need naps later in the day).

8. ... BUT IT WON’T BREAK THE WORLD RECORD OF 2700 IN ONE BOX.

The standing Guinness World Record for largest box of doughnuts is the Krispy Kreme box created by The Kuwait Food Co. Americana in 2009. The enormous cardboard box, an exact replica of a normal-sized one (including specially made labels), was around 19’ x 13’ x 3’, weighed almost 300 pounds, and contained 2700 Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

9. KRISPY KREME WEDDING CAKES HAVE BEEN ALL THE RAGE FOR AT LEAST A DECADE.

If nothing will do on your special day but a tower of doughnuts, you’re in luck: various locations, including those managed by Krispy Kreme UK, offer customized corporate spreads and ones designed for weddings, too, including cake-like doughnut towers and individual boxes bearing the happy couple’s names.

In 2004, one Washington couple tried to set the world record for tallest doughnut cake at their wedding, and reportedly submitted the 5'3" results to Guinness (no word on whether or not Guinness decided to create the category, or if a doughnut-based bribe was involved).

10. THERE WERE ALMOST DOUGHNUT SMOOTHIES AND MILKSHAKES.

In 2004, Krispy Kreme briefly offered a doughnut smoothie, which one journalist described as offering an experience "similar to that of an 8-year-old who’s found the box of C&H brown sugar while his parents were gone," or to squeezing a tube of frozen cake frosting "directly down your throat." In 2011, deathandtaxes reported that the company tested out doughnut shakes in Original Glazed, Chocolate Cake and Raspberry Filled flavors in five North Carolina stores. Unfortunately, it looks like neither idea caught on nationally.

11. THE COMPANY HAS PAID TRIBUTE TO PIRATES AND THE ORIGINAL GHOSTBUSTERS.

To celebrate Ghostbusters's 30th anniversary, stores sold marshmallow Kreme-filled doughnuts sporting the film’s "splat" logo and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man’s mug. And on September 19, a.k.a. Talk Like a Pirate Day, spouting some pirate-isms to a Krispy Kreme employee will earn booty in the form of one free doughnut.

A version of this story ran in 2015.

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Pop Culture
How Jimmy Buffett Turned 'Margaritaville' Into a Way of Life
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Few songs have proven as lucrative as “Margaritaville,” a modest 1977 hit by singer and songwriter Jimmy Buffett that became an anthem for an entire life philosophy. The track was the springboard for Buffett’s business empire—restaurants, apparel, kitchen appliances, and more—marketing the taking-it-easy message of its tropical print lyrics.

After just a few years of expanding that notion into other ventures, the “Parrot Heads” of Buffett’s fandom began to account for $40 million in annual revenue—and that was before the vacation resorts began popping up.

Jimmy Buffett performs for a crowd
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“Margaritaville,” which turned 40 this year, was never intended to inspire this kind of devotion. It was written after Buffett, as an aspiring musician toiling in Nashville, found himself in Key West, Florida, following a cancelled booking in Miami and marveling at the sea of tourists clogging the beaches.

Like the other songs on his album, Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, it didn’t receive a lot of radio play. Instead, Buffett began to develop his following by opening up for The Eagles. Even at 30, Buffett was something less than hip—a flip-flopped performer with a genial stage presence that seemed to invite an easygoing vibe among crowds. “Margaritaville,” an anthem to that kind of breezy attitude, peaked at number eight on the Billboard charts in 1977. While that’s impressive for any single, its legacy would quickly evolve beyond the music industry's method for gauging success.

What Buffett realized as he continued to perform and tour throughout the early 1980s is that “Margaritaville” had the ability to sedate audiences. Like a hypnotist, the singer could immediately conjure a specific time and place that listeners wanted to revisit. The lyrics painted a scene of serenity that became a kind of existential vacation for Buffett's fans:

Nibblin' on sponge cake,
Watchin' the sun bake;
All of those tourists covered with oil.
Strummin' my six string on my front porch swing.
Smell those shrimp —
They're beginnin' to boil.

By 1985, Buffett was ready to capitalize on that goodwill. In Key West, he opened a Margaritaville store, which sold hats, shirts, and other ephemera to residents and tourists looking to broadcast their allegiance to his sand-in-toes fantasy. (A portion of the proceeds went to Save the Manatees, a nonprofit organization devoted to animal conservation.) The store also sold the Coconut Telegraph, a kind of propaganda newsletter about all things Buffett and his chill perspective.

When Buffett realized patrons were coming in expecting a bar or food—the song was named after a mixed drink, after all—he opened a cafe adjacent to the store in late 1987. The configuration was ideal, and through the 1990s, Buffett and business partner John Cohlan began erecting Margaritaville locations in Florida, New Orleans, and eventually Las Vegas and New York. All told, more than 21 million people visit a Buffett-inspired hospitality destination every year.

A parrot at Margaritaville welcomes guests
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Margaritaville-branded tequila followed. So, too, did a line of retail foods like hummus, a book of short stories, massive resorts, a Sirius radio channel, and drink blenders. Buffett even wrote a 242-page script for a Margaritaville movie that he had hoped to film in the 1980s. It’s one of the very few Margaritaville projects that has yet to have come to fruition, but it might be hard for Buffett to complain much. In 2015, his entire empire took in $1.5 billion in sales.

As of late, Buffett has signed off on an Orlando resort due to open in 2018, offering “casual luxury” near the boundaries of Walt Disney World. (One in Hollywood, Florida, is already a hit, boasting a 93 percent occupancy rate.) Even for guests that aren’t particularly familiar with his music, “Jimmy Buffett” has become synonymous with comfort and relaxation just as surely as Walt Disney has with family entertainment. The association bodes well for a business that will eventually have to move beyond Buffett’s concert-going loyalists.

Not that he's looking to leave them behind. The 70-year-old Buffett is planning on a series of Margaritaville-themed retirement communities, with the first due to open in Daytona Beach in 2018. More than 10,000 Parrot Heads have already registered, eager to watch the sun set while idling in a frame of mind that Buffett has slowly but surely turned into a reality.

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Design
The Secret to the World's Most Comfortable Bed Might Be Yak Hair
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Tengi

Savoir Beds laughs at your unspooling mail-order mattresses and their promises of ultimate comfort. The UK-based company has teamed with London's Savoy Hotel to offer what they’ve declared is one of the most luxurious nights of sleep you’ll ever experience. 

What do they have that everyone else lacks? About eight pounds of Mongolian yak hair.

The elegantly-named Savoir No. 1 Khangai Limited Edition is part of the hotel’s elite Royal Suite accommodations. For $1845 a night, guests can sink into the mattress with a topper stuffed full of yak hair from Khangai, Mongolia. Hand-combed and with heat-dispensing properties, it takes 40 yaks to make one topper. In a press release, collaborator and yarn specialist Tengri claims it “transcends all levels of comfort currently available.”

Visitors opting for such deluxe amenities also have access to a hair stylist, butler, chef, and a Rolls-Royce with a driver.

Savoir Beds has entered into a fair-share partnership with the farmers, who receive an equitable wage in exchange for the fibers, which are said to be softer than cashmere. If you’d prefer to luxuriate like that every night, the purchase price for the bed is $93,000. Purchased separately, the topper is $17,400. Act soon, as only 50 of the beds will be made available each year. 

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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