Rogue Words from A to Z: The Cruelty of Crullers

A to Z Letter CHave you ever been certain you knew the right way to spell a word, and then found out you were wrong?

For A-Z, I was asked about the proper spelling of my favourite type of doughnut: cruller or crueller?

My first reaction was to say, “Crueller, of course!” I have been eating honey cruellers (sometimes know as French cruellers) at my local doughnut shop since forever, and the shop always spells it as crueller.

honey crueller or cruller

Here’s the proof, in case you doubt me…

Imagine my surprise when I looked this up online and found that the dictionaries spell this marvelous mouthful as cruller.

Merriam-Webster tells us that cruller comes from the Dutch word krulle, a twisted cake, from krul, which means curly.Β  I then went on to find out that Dutch immigrants were involved in the creation of the modern American doughnut.

If cruller is correct, I thought, why do I keep seeing cruellers in some (but not all) of the doughnut shops?

The easiest explanation is that Homer Simpson has been at the time-travelling toaster again and keeps changing history. In one universe it’s cruller, in another it’s crueller, and in a third it’s simply known as rain. Too bad Homer (and the rest of us) didn’t get to stay in that last universe. Those Simpsons writers are just plain cruel.

simpsons-treehouse-of-horrors-time-punishment

“It’s raining again.”

I’ve since found a better explanation. It turns out that crueller is the proper spelling in Pennsylvania Dutch country. They even have types of cruellers I’ve never heard of, like a coconut crueller. Mmmm…

So it turns out that both of these spellings are correct. Now I can focus on enjoying the sweet taste.

***

Image of crueller is mine; Rain of donuts is from The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror V story “Time and Punishment”

This post is dedicated to Jaso, a fellow lover of cruellers.

What’s your favourite doughnut? And do you spell it as doughnut or donut?

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, where I will demolish the dastardly letter D…

 

Β© Sue Archer and Doorway Between Worlds, 2015

 

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96 thoughts on “Rogue Words from A to Z: The Cruelty of Crullers

  1. Favorite donuts? For someone who claims not to like them that much, I’m a mighty fan of the home made ones I get at the farmers market. Yum.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cru(e)llers are one of those things I’m mostly aware of from references in American films and TV. Now they are a thing that I desperately want to find and try, as I love donuts, and if the shops weren’t shut that would be my mission for the day.

    I use the spelling ‘donut’, mostly out of laziness. My favourites are currently the ones with a caramel or custard filling, chocolate topping and mixed chocolate sprinkles. It’s the culinary equivalent of watching a Saturday morning cartoon – a joyfully unsophisticated pleasure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds like a very tasty donut! There’s a version here called the Boston Cream donut that has custard filling and a chocolate topping, but no sprinkles. I love the Canadian version of that one. But when Krispy Kreme briefly came to Canada, I tried their Boston Creme and it was filled with what tasted like liquid sugar. It made my teeth ache! Custard is definitely better. πŸ™‚

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      1. I was really disappoint by Krispy Kreme too. I tried them a few times after they came to Manchester, and I like the variety but they weren’t as good as the donuts from other places. Honestly, how did you mess this one up America, it’s practically your national dish?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I really don’t know. Here we’re big fans of Tim Horton’s, and although their donuts aren’t necessarily as good as homemade local bakery ones, they are far superior to Krispy Kreme. At least I think so! But then again, I’m not American. Maybe I am missing something. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tasha! We consider cruellers to be a type of doughnut, but I’m sure some doughnut connoisseurs would disagree. πŸ™‚ You can’t go wrong with anything chocolate!

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  3. Doughnut….this is the way I learned it….being nuts of dough…..
    I never knew these doughnuts were name crueller and Dutch origin. I am not a doughnut lover, though honey one is my choice.when offered. Thanks for the appetizing history!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mmmm….coconut. Right on!

      My dictionary tells me that donut is the North American version of doughnut. Yay, they are both right! I’ve seen it both ways here, but donut definitely has the lead. πŸ™‚

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      1. So, as a Canadian, do I write donut, or doughnut? Canadian spelling always frustrates me. Its a confusing mix of American and British English that isn’t always 100% consistent from coast to coast. 😦

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      2. I know, right? Usually I find myself falling in to the British spelling for things. Specifically as a Canadian editor, I go to my trusty Canadian Oxford Dictionary whenever there are any disputes and go with that. (Unless I’m editing something for an American audience…then it’s Merriam-Webster!) I figure if your reader understands what you are saying, that’s the main thing. πŸ™‚

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      3. We have a book called, “Editing Canadian English that I’m afraid to even look at, lest it undermine my entire grammar education.

        The worst, though, is when I’m writing my fiction. Scrivener uses British spelling, but Word always defaults to American. Since I write for American publishers, I’m always having to ask my American partner which spelling is correct, since I’ll get an error message one way or another. πŸ˜›

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      4. Yes, WordPress also likes to tell me that a lot of my Britishisms are wrong. I have that book, too – they just put out the third edition of it online through the Editors’ Association of Canada. It’s a good supplement, but I can see why you wouldn’t want to add to the confusion! I’d keep it simple. πŸ™‚ (I must say though that Merriam-Webster online is a great place for checking American spelling.)

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  4. I’m not doughnut savvy enough to know that cruellers/crullers were even a thing. I do like old fashioned doughnuts, though. Mmmm…

    And I’m spelling it “doughnut” mostly because I’m now feeling self-conscious, and it seems like the proper way to spell it. But I’ve probably used “donut” as well at times.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I spell it doughnuts (makes more sense that way). I enjoy those doughnuts with the granulated sugar on them. The simple combination of the sugar and the buttery taste together are to die for!

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  6. Cruellers are my favorite, too!!! After Apple Fritters, which technically shouldn’t be called a doughnut/donut since they are closer to a vat of sugar and butter than pastry…. but…. yes, cruellers!! πŸ˜€ Now I’m hungry. πŸ˜›

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s right, you can’t forget about Apple Fritters – those are awesome, too! I used to love cherry cruellers when I was younger, and then they stopped making them. I don’t know why. They reminded me a lot of the apple fritters, where it’s like eating a brick of sugar. πŸ˜‰ A crying shame they are gone now. But good for my waistline, I’m sure.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And mine… πŸ˜„ Hahaha. I’m going to hunt down an apple fritter first thing when we move to Canada. Hopefully to remind myself the greater diversity of food will make the move worth it. πŸ˜›

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Coconut crueller?

    To quote Homer Simpson: “Mmmmmm….coconut crueller….”

    I was going to say, we can go the British/European route and adopt the extra ‘u’ in crueller. Problem solved!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It would be interesting to see how many different types of doughnuts there are around the world. I’ll bet there are some in Glasgow that I have never heard of. πŸ™‚

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  8. Ahhh! Now I’m craving Tim Horton’s.

    Maybe they spell it ‘crueller’ because it’s cruel what those donuts do to one’s waistline. /bad joke

    Also A+ Simpsons reference. Treehouse of Horror V is easily the best of the Halloween episodes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is fascinating to see where words come from. I remember when I learned Old English, and was amazed at how different it was from what we speak today. Then once in a while you’d see a word pop up that was recognizable, and you’d get pretty excited. Yes, I am a word nerd. πŸ™‚

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  9. Baviarian creme-filled donuts are my favorite. I spell it the short way on the Internet, but spell it doughnut in formal writing. (I also use nite for night on comment threads a lot).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah yes, night vs. nite. Somehow I just can’t bring myself to write nite, even though donut is okay for me. Good point on it being more casual. And nice to meet a fellow fan of Bavarian creme!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Okay, now I have a strong craving for a cruller…especially a coconut crueller! Cruller or crueller, each way it’s just as sweet…
    Great post. I’ll be back for more.
    Happy A-Zing…
    Michele at Angels Bark

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome, Michelle! I have never had the pleasure of eating a coconut crueller, I’ll have to track one down someday. Thanks for commenting! I’ll by by soon. πŸ™‚

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  11. I love a good old-fashioned, the kind with the sugary glaze. Now and then I’ll go for one of those rectangular donuts filled with custard and topped with chocolate. On rare occasions, I get a craving for a cinnamon roll the size of a truck tire!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, cinnamon rolls! Yum. Now I am picturing them rolling everywhere. πŸ™‚ That’s interesting about the rectangular donut – they don’t tend to have those here. In my childhood I’ve had rectangular cherry crullers, but mostly everything is round!

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    1. Hi, Susan! Nice to meet someone from PA. Donut holes are great, too. In Canada we simply call them Timbits (from Tim Horton’s) and they are very popular. πŸ™‚ Thanks for commenting!

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  12. I’ve always spelled “crueller” with the extra e. When I wrote it just now, the spell check changed it to “crueler,” so I had to go back and fix it. My favorite donuts are maple frosted and Boston crΓ¨me. I used to spell them as “doughnuts,” but now I usually take the short cut and just use “donuts.” I like the simplicity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can’t go wrong with anything maple-flavoured. πŸ™‚ I think spell-check is often more trouble than it’s worth! While writing this post, it was amusing to see so many red lines showing up.

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  13. English is a foreign language to me, and I’ve seen the words cruller and crueller for the first time today.–I never go to a doughnut shop.–I have a feeling that ‘crueller’ looks like the comparative of ‘cruel’. — I’ve found your theme interesting. It will help me learn more about English, and I would like to read more of your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I promise I’m not particular with the spelling, but just for research sake, I shall hunt down as many bakeries that make crullers in our neck of the woods and ask for their comments.
    I will also ask for a cruller.
    When I am finished, I will surely be a building with feet. But I shall be an educated one.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thanks, Sue. Like Romi, I’d never heard of this type of doughnut beforeβ€”I’m going to play the Brit card. Since we’re talking about how Tim Hortons spells things, I thought I’d add that my local one has a muffin labelled “Fruit Explotion”. Love it! (Though I’ve seen it in other Tim’s spelled with an “s”.)

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Doing a little catching up on your A to Z posts Sue πŸ™‚ I had never heard of crullers, or of cruellers, but they sound amazing! I want one now. Next trip to the US I’m going to have to go and look them up πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh definitely! Fried dough and I get along like a house on fire. I tried deep fried pizza dough with mascarpone pastry cream in the US — that was a delicious experience (I did feel a bit sick afterwards though πŸ˜‰ )

        Liked by 1 person

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