I just came across a really good memory posted by Eileen Podanowski through the Vintage Vernon Facebook Page. ( Take a moment to LIKE Vintage Vernon)
It’s about the Spudnut Shop, and Eileen Podanowski just so happened to have a real good photo from the 1960’s. Thank you so much for sharing Eileen.
In the photo you see Eileen as a baby and her parents, Frank and Mary. Also, they’re all standing by the famous Spudnut Shop in 1961. What’s remarkable about it, it really is a small world after all.
In 1967, my parents, Jerry and Betty Demers (you may know her as Betty Watts, as she remarried) bought the Spudnut Shop in 1967. It was originally owned by hard working Ernie and Betty LeClair. They placed the shop over to their daughter and husband team – Pearl and John Lehr.
It was John who taught my dad how to make the prefect Spudnut using the franchise SPUDNUT FLOUR from the brothers in Utah. Bob and Al Pelton in Salt Lake City began the historical adventure of turning [donuts] into something better – Spudnuts : a potato flour ingredient with the use of yeast, pure vegetable shortening and certain spices.
The Spudnut Shop played a BIG part in my life, growing up in Vernon, BC.
The Shop was on Vernon’s Main Street, across the once famous Nicks Candy Kitchen. Freddy’s Records was on the corner and the Real Estate beside the Spudnut was responsible for leasing the properties on that block. I wish I could remember the man that was in charge of leasing the property, but one thing I will always remember, he use to make a fun comment to mom, saying,” Why should my tea cost an extra 5 cents more then coffee”. It was a regular comment, each day he arrived for a fresh Spudnut and tea.
My mom knew he was just kidding and would always just smile.
I was in charge of tasting the Spudnuts and mopping the floors every Sunday morning. I received a big 25 cents each Sunday for mopping the floors. Of course, I ate a bunch of Spudnuts, homemade burgers and fries. I was good in getting rid of the profits – LOL.
It’s a FUN MEMORY, because we are now a part history, a group of Vernonettes, from the regular Vernon customers who came daily to the owners on that block in Vernon, BC.
If you ask anyone of the old timers in Vernon, I’m sure they will remember my Mom, Betty Watts.
The Spudnut Days were fun days!
A LITTLE ABOUT ME :
As you all know, I was raised in Vernon, B.C. My schooling days started at the elementary to the once historical Fulton Jr. High School in Polson Park ( demolished now ) and my high school graduation days at VSS ( Vernon Senior Secondary ).
As a kid ( grade 7) I remember running through the Fruit Union across the street from Fulton Jr High School ( during lunch hours) racing as fast as I can, to the Spudnut Shop, so I can have a fresh burger, fries and a Coca Cola. As always, my Mom had the burger ready, as I plunked myself on the twirling bar-type stools, facing the long counter.
My Mom would always say,” Hurry, eat and get back to school”. Of course I always bugged her for a fresh Spudnut for my trip back to school.
The guys who owned this Spudnut Franchise really knew what they were doing. Spudnuts literally melted in your mouth. It was really hard just to have one! And the LONG JOHNS ( Long Cylinder Spudnuts drizzled with chocolate and filled with whipping cream) were to die for.
Realizing the hard work and long hours at our little restaurant, my intent wasn’t to become a chef or work in the restaurant, but, as fate would have it, I finally turned myself over to becoming a chef.
In the beginning I had two other career ideas.
One, was to become an Art Teacher (studied at Okanagan College in Kelowna) and second I became a certified Architectural draftsman working for UMA throughout BC and Alberta. But then came the computers and, just like that, thousands of draftpersons were laid off, due to the computer.
I had a family to feed, so I decided to take the three year course at NAIT in Edmonton, Alberta and while apprenticing at the finer resorts hotels throughout Alberta, I finally obtain my Inter-Provincial ” Cooks Trade papers and Red Seal.
Fast forward a few years, I worked back in Kelowna as an Executive Chef, using regional recipes related to the bountiful of fresh fruit and vegetables from the Okanagan. I also made a few signature dishes, which you can find in other restaurants today.
Today, I’m completely retired from cooking all together. I’m a freelance writer and artist, but I still love to cook for my families. Of course you know about my published cookbook, “Canadian Recipes of the Great White North” and my websites and Facebook Pages, such as :
One of my websites
My cookbook – Canadian Recipes of the Great White North
I would like to thank Eileen Podanowski AND the Vintage Vernon Facebook Page for allowing me to share Eileen’s photo. It brings back some wonderful memories.
If you like to READ more about the Spudnut Shop and the Spudnut recipe
Cheers from all in Vernon, BC !
by Chef Bari
PS I was also a paperboy for the Vernon News, my route was over 109 customers. And I had to collect from each customer. Those were the days!
Sadly my Mom passed away in June 2015 at 82 years old.
Enjoying my stories and my Spudnut recipe ? Please support my efforts – I truly appreciate it! Thank you CHEF BARI