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The Lure of a Sinless Donut

My friend is not allowed to eat pork, yet he loves Shipley's Donuts. I believe they contain lard (or pig fat) — not to discourage him but to save him from a sin. Do we have anything to worry about in the icing or not? How about the oil they're cooked in?

Shipley's Donuts is a franchised chain of 190 stores, which are located in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Texas (what the company calls the "donut belt"). Almost half their stores are in and around Houston (presumably the "donut buckle").

A spokeswoman for the company assures us that they only use vegetable oil for frying and none of their donuts contains lard or any other hidden pig-based ingredient. Shipley's does make kolaches, though — Czech-inspired filled pastries, made with the same dough used to make the donuts. And one or more kolache choices are filled with ham, but there's little danger of inadvertently sinning with an obviously ham-filled kolache. Indeed, although it involves a shameless mixing of religious metaphors on our part, Shipley's does refer to its donuts as "a truly holey food."

Very few restaurants, and no chains that we know of, use lard these days for frying. There is an inescapable perception that the public won't stand for it.

Happily, in this case at least, you can move on to guarding against other sins.

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