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Get a Dozen Doughnuts When Friends Come Over

Fancy cheese boards are nice, but trust me on this: Everyone will go for the doughnuts

Six doughnuts of different varieties inside a pink box.
Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

This post originally appeared in the August 9, 2021 edition of The Move, a place for Eater’s editors to reveal their recommendations and pro dining tips — sometimes thoughtful, sometimes weird, but always someone’s go-to move. Subscribe now.

Since getting fully vaccinated earlier this year, I’ve been getting back into the swing of having friends over. It wasn’t just that the pandemic had me out of practice — about three months into shelter-in-place mandates, I had a baby. And let me tell you, having friends over in a pandemic when you have a baby is very different from having friends over without either. Let me also tell you: Be gentle on yourself, forget attempting to throw together the perfect menu, and just serve your guests a dozen doughnuts.

The very first time I had friends over was sort of impromptu — a park meetup lasted long enough that everyone wanted to use a bathroom. Being fully vaccinated, finally, meant we could offer our nearby apartment. It was a Saturday, and on the table was a pink box of doughnuts, an almost full dozen after my husband and I decided it would be a doughnut day. The bathroom pit stop evolved into a full-fledged hang: I think it was because of the doughnuts.

The next time I had friends over, I was more deliberate. I made a lovely grazing board that included spicy salami, prosciutto, figs, cherries and apricots from the farmers market, honey-roasted almonds, and a few cheeses, including one of my personal favorites, Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam — a velvety triple-cream that costs around $16 to $24 for 8 ounces. Because I had asked them to come on the early side, I also hedged my bets, and got a dozen doughnuts, too. Guess what everyone wanted to eat? It was the doughnuts. I ended up eating almost all of the cheese myself in bed a few hours after everyone went home, which was nice but not actually the point.

Now I’m a doughnut-hosting evangelist. The pros of just setting out a dozen doughnuts are too myriad to possibly list them all but here are the key selling points: Too few people eat doughnuts as often as they wish, so everyone will be happy to see them. They are remarkably easy to share, if you set some knives out. And most of all, having friends over should be fun, and doughnuts are an objectively fun food.

Of course, I also have opinions on what kind of doughnuts you should offer. Stick to the classics — in LA, where I live, it means the pink-box shops. Get a wide variety: some frosted, some glazed, some old-fashioneds, and a few wild cards, maybe a toasted coconut, an apple fritter, and a cinnamon twist. Make a pot of coffee, set out your doughnuts, and enjoy your day with friends while making little-to-no effort in terms of feeding them whatsoever.