The streamlined Paula Deen donut burger

Dear Paula Deen,

Even though I’ve never watched your cooking show, I was sorry to hear about the whole diabetes thing. That’s got to be a scary development, not to mention the hassle of having to “respin” your entire career. Still, it looks like you’ve got a pretty good start on that, judging from the cover story in that copy of Prevention magazine I found in my parents’ bathroom the other day. Definitely looks like you’ve dropped a few pounds.

Paula Deen

I can understand how mortified you must feel now, having unleashed the doughnut burger upon the world. Did you know that even now, as you try to distance yourself from this misstep, the mere mention of this apparently infamous episode* of your cooking show is enough to trigger the “conquest” impulse in supposedly reformed overeaters like me?

Don’t feel bad. This kind of thing happens all the time. I‘ve gotten used to it. In fact, this isn‘t a letter of complaint so much as an attempt to offer some advice. If you really loved that doughnut burger — and I can tell from the article that its “sweet-savory combination” really appealed to your naughty noshing nature — don‘t try to tell yourself you can‘t have it. It won’t work.

Either save up enough spare calories to make room for it in your day — though from the sounds of it, there may well be more than an entire day’s worth of fat, calories and carbs in that one burger — or try this streamlined version I was fooling around with this week.

My experimental donut burger started with a Boca Burger’s original vegan burger,  which is only 70 calories and two Weight Watchers points plus. You probably wouldn’t like it. But remember: The protein disk’s role is mostly to provide heft and texture. Once you dress up a burger — and it’s hard to fathom a more overdressed burger than one draped in doughnuts — you don’t taste much of what lies underneath anyway.

As for the doughnuts, I don’t know what you prefer but I went with Krispy Kreme original glazed, which aren’t very interesting as doughnuts go but are far less devastating than most, at 210 calories and 6 points plus.

That puts us at 490 calories and 14 points, which is all I cared to expend in this particular experiment. But something’s gotta serve as the social staple between the sweet and savory elements in this mixer, right? I went with glazed onions and mushrooms and a teaspoon-sized dollop of honey barbecue sauce, which provides plenty of rich flavor for only 10 calories.

If I were to do this again, I would definitely take the time to fry the veggie burger instead of merely microwaving it, but I had to wedge this in before taking two kids to two different baseball practices so I cut a few corners. (Veggies were fried in nonfat cooking spray earlier in the day and simply reheated.)

I also thought it might be interesting to add a thin slice of kiwi in lieu of where a tomato often appears on a burger, but lettuce and tomato don’t really seem to go with the barbeuce-and-onions motif. So maybe that’s another veggie burger topper to try sometime.

But the real question here is: Will I ever be tempted to try another doughnut burger in this lifetime, or did this one sufficiently satisfy my “conquest” impulse?

That remains to be seen. But if it does, it’s just a question of carving out 14 points in my day to make room for it. That‘s about half what I usually allow myself for an entire day — though I‘ve reset my daily target a few points lower while I‘m still trying to drop a couple of pounds for Wells Weighs In.

But you know, it‘s workable. It‘s just a question of priorities.

Anyway, best of luck.

A fellow “conquestian”

*Below is the infamous episode in which Deen creates the doughnut burger — for which she says, “We’re going to be arrested.”

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