Moline Memories - MHS 66 Friends






Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ingredients Matter - Melo Cream Doctrine

Three fathers: Homer Jackson, Greg Jackson, Martin Jackson. We let my wife pose for the calender too.
Martin and Tammy's son, Alexander, looks just like Martin in this pose.


Classmates still talk about Melo Cream doughnuts. When the Hasty Tasty bought out Melo Cream, to keep producing the same doughnuts, the first objection was the cost of the flour.

Doughnut flour can be bought from any wholesaler. My father insisted on a special flour from California. Shipping hundred-pound bags from California to Moline, Illinois, is rather expensive. Hasty Tasty was not amused.

We used the best chocolate for icing. Nibs were melted slowly, with vanilla icing added after. Chemical chocolate was available. Many companies use a form of carob. Remember the husks the pigs ate in the Parable of the Prodigal Son? They were carob. Pig food. We used rich, dark chocolate.

Two kinds of sugar can be used. Beet sugar and cane sugar are exactly the same in their chemical formulations. However, any baker will say, cane is better. A room of beet sugar smells funny. Not bad, just off. We used cane sugar always, and it cost more.

We added such things as pure cinnamon, nutmeg, and flavor enhancers.

Bread doughnuts were made with wet yeast, which we had to buy from Johnson's Bakery. We were too small to be a stop. Dry yeast works too, but wet yeast is better. We added eggs (not dried eggs) and potato flour to the mix. We even kept old dough in the freezer because a lump of old dough made a fresh batch even better. These were extra steps, but they added to the quality of the bread doughnuts.

The nuts we used were superb. We bought the biggest and best pecans and walnuts, not the crumbles. We got boxes of top quality coconut. Raw peanuts were the large size. We fried them, using them ground for Barlow doughnuts and peanut topped doughnuts. Going to the basement for supplies was fun. I could nick a warm danish from the cooling rack at the top of the stairs. Finishing that, I had coconut, walnuts, and pecans to enjoy while searching for that elusive pail of flour. "Have you found it yet?" Quick swallow - "Not yet. I'm looking."

Coffee was another opportunity to save a few pennies. We had a Maxwell House sign up, but we blended it with Yuban for better flavor. Instead of perking cheap coffee, we used a drip maker and the blend - gourmet coffee for 10 cents a cup. When the coffee was a little bit old, we threw it out and made more. More than once I threw it out as a customer protested, "I don't mind. I don't mind."

I am drinking my own home-made gourmet coffee now.

Perfectionism works well in making good food and deserts, but not in making a lot of money. Most people do not know the difference between the best recipe made with painstaking care and a mediocre recipe thrown together by an uncaring slob.

Many people are publishing essays that say, "Thanks for the life lessons, Dad."

I am simply saying, "You ruined me, Dad. I cannot settle for second best."

My father is on the far right, his brother a little bit to his left.
The shop was at 1313 - Fifth Avenue, near WQUA...forever.