Posts Tagged ‘six degrees of separation’

Tom Thumb Donut Machine, MN State Fair, St. Paul, Minnesota, August 2008, all photos © 2008-2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


No one leaves the Minnesota State Fair without a bag of Tom Thumb Donuts. I’ve gone a whole day, been dead on my feet, and made the trek back to the Tom Thumb stand to grab a 500 calorie bag of melt-in-your-mouth mini-donuts to eat on the long walk to the car.

I’m also mesmerized by the mini-donut making machine. It was invented in 1947 at the Ryan Aeronautical Company in California by a group of engineers who were sitting idle after the war. That year, they started greasing the wheel and each machine splashes out 90 deep-fried donuts per minute.

Tom Thumb Donuts was established a few years later in 1949. Do you know how Tom Thumb Donuts made it to the Minnesota State Fair?

According to a Chippewa Herald article by writer Tom Arneberg, John Desmond and his wife Janet brought Tom Thumb Donuts to the Minnesota State Fair in 1952. Then two boys in Desmond’s Minneapolis neighborhood, Ted Boecher and John Hanson, grew up working at the stand and took it over after John Desmond’s death.

Sadly, a few years later, Hanson died of a heart attack right in the main Tom Thumb booth next to Ye Olde Mill, leaving Ted Boecher to manage the stand.

Through 6 degrees of separation (and the framing of a Tom Thumb Donut bag kept in his kitchen), Tom Arneberg met manager Ted Boecher and he and his family were given a personal guided tour through the whole mini-donut making operation. Arneberg, a community columnist for the Chippewa Herald, wrote a piece in which he describes the whole experience, including his love for the Minnesota State Fair.

I found Arneberg’s column when researching the history of Tom Thumb Donuts to go with these photographs. You’ve got to read it to find out his personal best for bags of Tom Thumb Donuts eaten in one trip to the Minnesota State Fair!

What’s your personal best for your favorite State Fair food?

To jog your memory, this year’s whole list of Minnesota State Fair foods on-a-stick and a link to the FoodFinder (along with past State Fair posts) can be found at our annual red Ravine State Fair post MN State Fair On-A-Stick (Princesses & Butter Queens). We’ll be at the Fair this Friday. Maybe we’ll see you there!



Don’t Bite The Hand That Feeds You, Tom Thumb –
Light As A Feather
, MN State Fair, St. Paul,
Minnesota, August 2008, all photos © 2008-2009
by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

-related to post: WRITING TOPIC – BAND-AIDS® & OTHER 1920’s INVENTIONS, the velveeta cheese of donuts haiku, Two Degrees Of Celebrity Sighting

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Jerry Rice

Jerry Rice in a San Francisco club, photo © 2009 by beeca. All rights reserved.

I am so obsessed with celebrity that even though I don’t know who this man is—my sisters and niece tell me he is famous—I am posting his photo on the blog. And not only is he famous—he is retired NFL player Jerry Rice, used to play for the San Francisco 49ers—but because he was runner-up in the second season of Dancing with the Stars, losing to Drew Lashea, who I also didn’t know but am told was in a boy band with brother Nick, who used to be married to Jessica Simpson, I am now connected through six degrees of separation to Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys. (I don’t know who he is either, and my niece just reminded me that since they are both of football fame, Tony and I are probably connected through three degrees, not six.)

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  • February 1978: Rode up three floors in an elevator with Rock Hudson. I was in Durango, Colorado, with my high school ski club over Presidents Day holiday. Rock was in Colorado filming the movie Avalanche, also starring Mia Farrow. We were at the plush (for those days) Tamarron Resort. I got onto the elevator, saw Rock, turned my back and acted like I didn’t notice him. Three floors later the doors opened and Rock got out. He brought light to the then little known AIDS epidemic after dying from the disease a few years later.
  • 1982: My college friend “Suzy Paduzer,” whose uncle was a well-known Hollywood film director, insisted I meet someone named Demi Moore and her husband Freddy for a drink at a hotel lobby bar in Albuquerque. Demi and Freddy were in town to see Demi’s mother, who Suzy had in Spanish class at the University of New Mexico. Suzy said that Demi and Freddy were the coolest people ever, that Demi was a promising actor who’d just been cast in a soap opera, and her husband was lead singer for a band called Boy. I joined Suzy, Demi’s mom, Demi, and Freddy for a drink. They seemed distracted and bored, although my friend Suzy, who I eventually lost track of, continued her friendship with Demi for some time.
  • About four years ago: Sold a pair of vintage Ecuadoran silver earrings, dangle-y, to Ali McGraw during the annual Santa Fe Ethnographic Art Show. Ali, who has a home in Santa Fe, was working with a flamboyant and famous (among folk art folk) businessman friend of hers, while I was working the booth across from them for a not-so-famous but respected vendor of Latin American jewelry and art. I acted (guess how?) cool as a cucumber as I wrote out the sales slip and handed Ali her new earrings. She must have been in her 60s and still cute as a bug, albeit a wee bit snooty. But then again, so was I.
  • October before last: During the Abiquiu art studio tour, stopped in at Marsha Mason’s lavender farm. Marsha wasn’t there, and as I recall the place was for sale, but still, I bet I stepped on Talavera tiles that she stepped on a thousand times, barefoot.
  • Tonight: Ate at Temple Club in Ho Chi Minh City—gorgeous, quaint, and serving yummy food, plus is the spot where Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in 2006 had dinner and scootered to their hotel. I’m told they reserved the intimate top floor, where we sat tonight. For all I know, one of them (or both) sat on the same velvety chair that I sat on.

What about you? What are your brushes with fame?

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