Beer, Doughnuts, and the War of 1812

The Great Doughnut War of '12 Poster

Last week the staffs of the National Archives and the Canadian Embassy here in Washington gathered to commemorate the War of 1812 in a special way—The Great Doughnut War of ’12, pitting Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme against Tim Hortons. Three celebrity judges—two from the National Archives and one from the Canadian Embassy participated in a blind taste testing (below left).

Blind taste text and ballot box







And the attendees all had a chance to vote (ballot box, above right) as the doughnuts were served on separate unlabeled platters. Lest you think the two to one odds—doughnuts and judges—were unfair, let me point out that the event was held in MY HOUSE!

National Archives in black and white








The tension built during the day when we learned that the delivery of Tim Hortons to the Embassy resulted in potential disaster.

crushed doughnuts








Claiming SABOTAGE by the competition, the resourceful Embassy staff hoofed it to Baltimore for replacements.

We treated our Canadian friends to a display of facsimiles of records pertaining to the War of 1812 and beer!

And we ended the evening with a special screening of my favorite movie, “Strange Brew”—the source of everything I know and love about Canada!

P.S. Tim Hortons was the victor—both by popular vote and celebrity vote. A recount is underway!


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12 Responses to Beer, Doughnuts, and the War of 1812

  1. Keith Donohue says:

    Sacre bleu!


  2. Sam Anthony says:

    A recount is needed. Krispy Kreme is the best, and everyone knows it!

    Besides Tom Horton’s, is there another Canadian company of note that grows doughnuts?


  3. Igor says:

    Donuts are good, but it is not clear what this has to do with Archives or with being Archivist.


  4. Timothy Mulligan says:

    It was a great event, a tip of my toque to the Archivist and the Canadian Embassy for a memorable commemoration!
    P.S. Sam, it’s TIM Horton’s……


  5. Maarja Krusten says:

    So if there WAS sabotage, did the offending player get “two minutes for elbowing?”


  6. Franck says:

    A great way to remember the War of 1812 and a great way to reach out to our Canadian neighbors! Thanks for hosting all of us. Now on to the Bacon Debate!


  7. John Whitehurst says:

    Agreed, Tim Horton’s is the best of the three. Anyone who disagrees with me can take off, eh! Hosers! This post really wore me out, so I’m going to grab a seat on the chesterfield. No kidding though, I wish I could have attended this, it looks like it was a lot of fun! STEAMROLLER!!!


  8. Hugh Fraser Clayton says:

    This was a nice program, an interesting mix of history, food, culture and cinema.


  9. Steven Loew says:

    I reply to Igor’s comment above, someone needs to explain how NARA and the Canadian Embassy established ties over the past year or so, and how we keep inviting each other to fun events.


  10. Tania says:

    That looks fun! I wish I had a team of archivists! Check out my architectural archive blog here:

    Yours is so in-depth! It’s great.


  11. AOTUS says:

    What this has to do with Archives: records of the War of 1812. Click on the link an see a sample of the extensive records in our holdings. We contributed facsimiles of other records for the Candadian Embassy exhibit which is now underway commemorating the War.
    Ties to Canadian Embassy: several A1 staff members have friends at the Embassy which resulted in the joint Halloween celebration in their space, our participation in their current exhibit, and the doughnut war. In addition, our Ambassador to Canada, David Jacobson, was the man heading the President’s appointments staff–the man who recommended me as Archivist, and we have become friends since.
    Ties to Canada: Daniel Caron, my counterpart for Canada, has become a close ally as we work through similar challenges. And, finally, on September 5th, 1983, I first saw Strange Brew when it was first released. Have been a huge fan ever since!


  12. Never had Horton’s but Krispy Kreme’s are the best


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