Big doughnut

Nothing says “happy birthday” like a big-ass doughnut

Today is my elder son’s twentieth birthday, and I write this with a birthday songs playlist ready to start as soon as I hear him get up. His mom just left to get what we think will begin another tradition: The Pandamonium Birthday Cake Doughnut.

Panda logo
The Pandamonium Doughnuts logo, making mouths water since 2013.

Long story short, one of my co-teachers and her husband started Pandamonium Doughnuts (check out their Instagram feed), an artisan doughnut company, and now it’s A Thing. Their food truck is brilliantly awesome, and their doughnuts are spectacular. They cost a lot ($2-3 apiece) but they’re made from fresh ingredients daily, and each is a handmade work of art. Flavors include Bacon Maple Fritter, Fresh Raspberry, Earl Grey Tea and Meyer Lemon, or Nutella Royale. They rock.

Pandamonium doughnut truck
Kids in a summer camp I run visit the Pandamonium truck.

The Pandamonium truck visits sites around Champaign-Urbana on six days per week, most of them to the area of the University of Illinois campus. My elder son studies Engineering at the U of I, and he faithfully treks across campus for a doughnut at least once per week. He’s a fan. This morning, he’s going to get his first-ever Pandamonium Birthday Cake Doughnut. It is the first, but I am willing to be it won’t be the last. Next birthday up in our family calendar is my own (April), and I expect I might have one for breakfast too. And so on.

That’s the nature of tradition. We do things all the time, rarely thinking much of most of them. Sometimes, though, a Thingwedo strikes us as good, meaningful, and worth repeating. Then we repeat it and it becomes a tradition. That’s the formula; simple as that. Folklorists will stand by this. It’s gold.

Back to birthdays. I write this blog post while my wife treks downtown to get the big-ass doughnut. Will he wake before she returns? Will there be bites out of it before he gets to it? These are new things to worry about on birthdays in my household.


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