Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tim Hortons to Open in the GCC: A Primer for Neophytes

I learned this morning via some unrelated news article that Canada's largest "restaurant" chain will soon be coming to a number of GCC countries--UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman. Saudis and Yemenis craving a doughnut will simply have to travel, or make do with far inferior American donuts.

I know ours are better because Canadians consume more doughnuts per capita than other peoples, and Canada has the most doughnut stores per capita. Tim Hortons is the most popular, and ubiquitous a mare usque ad mari. Tim Hortons Canada includes Quebec (and Nunavut)!

Those who appreciate a well-placed possessive apostrophe will notice much amiss in the above paragraphs. This is a sad fact of corporate marketing and a brief foray into US ownership. Tim Horton's became Tim Hortons. As a registered trademark, I don't think one may add any apostrophe before or after the "s".

Newcomers to Canada tend to call it "the Tim Horton", as in, "I'll meet you at the Tim Horton". They have no idea that Tim Horton is a personal name, or belonged to the famous hockey player who opened the first Tim Horton's with a friend and business partner.

Tim Horton was an accomplished defenseman for the Toronto Maple Leafs (special spelling for "the Leafs" of the blue and white type)--one of the original six NHL teams, along with the Montreal Canadiens (franglais spelling), Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, and Chicago Blackhawks (named after the Black Hawk Indian tribe, before it became politically incorrect to do so). Horton finished his career with a then newly created expansion team, the Buffalo Sabres.

Back to the doughnuts. Many are toroidal rings. Many others are flat spheres injected with a custard or jelly filling. Many are glazed. Not only is there a wide variety but the "holes" have been transformed into "Timbits", bite-sized round doughnuts in the same varieties. Any of the maple flavoured ones would be the true Canadian way to snack.

Luqaimat. Variously claimed by Saudis, Emiratis, and Omanis. 
This picture, and 4 recipes at The Oman Daily Observer.

Of course, many cultures have their own deep fried dough treats. So it is just possible that Saudis and Yemenis may survive their Tim Hortons deprivation, even without descending to Krispy Kreme abominations.

Caveat lector--while Canadian, my Tim Hortons knowledge is limited by being neither a coffee drinker (except for emergency caffeine, and the occasional latte, cafe con leche, or grand crême), nor a doughnut eater (except when my career hangs in the balance). Below are my favourite Timbits--the Tim Hortons sponsored hockey league for 3-6 year olds. They are too cute, with their teeny tiny hockey equipment, serious professional march from the change room to the ice, and their inadvertent pratfalls. The ones in the lower picture show that one is never too young to master the intent gaze from the bench +/- athletic cool slouch. Notice all sticks are blade down and on the ice/floor. Safety first! Speaking of which, blondie better get his helmet back on.

The little guys in "action":

Best not to mess with an Italian-American "Mite" player (age 6)--unless his mom is there.

Your comments, thoughts, impressions, experiences?
Your preferred doughnut brand? (I'm open-minded, but be respectful!)
Does your mom make the best "doughnuts" ever?
What "doughnut" is your ethnic specialty/preference?

"Summary: عواماتAwwamat sometimes spelled Awamat is a traditional and common Middle Eastern sweet. This awamat recipe or awama is easy to make and so delicious. Awamat is one of the most popular Middle Eastern sweets; you will find it in every pastry shop, piled up in a tray in big pyramid shape." Picture, text, and recipe at Recipe Trezor.


Wendy said...

Shame on you, Chiara! Here I am having my morning coffee and now craving some glazed timbits!!!! These are indeed wonderful donuts and the coffee is pretty good, too!

Did you hear about the Tim Hortons that got turned into an emergency room by next door to Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster? It's very near me. They had such a huge number waiting in emergency that the hospital 'took over' Tims for awhile. Here's the story.
This means that Tims could be a very important establishment during the Arab Spring. Just kidding about that but ....

oby said...


There is a Tim Horton's about 5 minutes from my house and as a taste tester of both Canadian and American donuts it is my very professional and considered opinion that...there isn't much difference and they taste pretty much the same. Look the same too.

Shhhhh...don't tell the Krispy Kreme crowd I said that...blasphemy!

Wendy said...

Chiara, can you make my link live in my first post???

Oby, I think Crispy Kremes are much heavier in the fat department that Tims donuts. I was rather shocked when I tasted my first one after having eaten Tim Hortons forever in Canada.

Chiara said...

Wendy and Oby--thank you for your comments and sharing your transnational intra-continental doughnut expertise. From observation Krispy Kreme Donuts are higher in fat and sugar than Tims. Often the "same" product sold on either side of the border has been modified to suit national tastes. Generally this means higher sugar, salt, and fat content in the US, and lower fibre in the US.

To resolve this it might be necessary for each of us to pick our favourite border crossing, and drive across and back numerous times, sampling doughnuts on each side of the border. To reduce suspicion I suggest we leave the husbands at home. Let them eat their own awamat or equivalent! :D :P

Wendy, I'll make you link live, comment further, and link the new Nova Scotia public health "repression" of doughnuts in hospital-based franchises, when I am back at a computer, and not my iPod.

A bientot! (imagine the accents :D)

Chiara said...

Here is Wendy's link to the overflow from a BC hospital ER being accommodated in the on-site Tim Hortons.

Tim Hortons triage: B.C. patients treated in coffee shop

More on Tim Hortons and hospitals:

N.S. health authority wants only nutritious snacks at its Tim Hortons hospital outlets

And the nutrition backing the decision:

Selection of nutritional information about Tim Hortons doughnuts, muffins

When there was a budget crunch in the 90's, the federal government reduced its contribution to provincial health care budgets, and provinces reduced funding to hospitals.

As a money maker, many hospitals allowed a number of franchises to open in their lobby, or near the emergency room (big business what with lack of planning about going to hospital, and wait times) or dotted in various locations. Most of these are coffee shops, or fast food outlets.

Now there is a backlash to the hypocrisy of fostering poor nutrition while treating its consequences.

Speaking to a more international context, switching from traditional foods to imported North American fast food consumption has negatively altered health patterns in a number of countries.

Majed said...

Fast food trend and even worse is eating unnecessarily for fun and passing time in Gulf countries is the major factor behind heart and plumbing diseases , as high as 54% of people in Saudi Arabia have high cholesterol and increasing number of people popping up with heart problems whose age is still below 40, just last month three of my fellow citizens I mean Indians died with heart attacks eldest of whom was 33 years old.

I myself have very High LDL and very Low HDL since 4 years, that is when I first checked for it,though I am very careful with what I eat and walk no less than 5 Km a day and maintain perfect body weight.

But Thank God I found one Herbal Hakeem (Doctor) in India who treated me in six days with 6 potion that is (a juice of a blend of finely powdered plant leaves soaked overnight and clarified the next morning before drinking it )I checked my LDL and HDL the 7th day it was like magic HDL increased 7 points and my LDL decreased about 11 and was near the normal point at my age it stayed that way for six months,and that without any side effects.
I tried to break down the blend,but I only could recognize just by taste and texture that the major and overwhelming constituent is Christ`s thorn leaves , of course that was too obvious and surely meant to mislead.

Majed said...

Since we are talking about sweets I would love you all to check out this climbing plant Gymnema Sylvestre, and give its name to all those suffering Diabetes, we love it and it is our favorite pot plant, my grand mother had used for her Diabetes for 35 years and my mother has been using it since 8 and has not used any other medicine beside just pluck few leaves from the plant in the pot and crush and swallow it early morning remember just swallow don not chew it,I have seen it doing wonders by Allah `s grace, but it is not Insulin you have to take it for few weeks to feel the difference.

Sorry Chiara, for using your blog to promote mother nature.

oby said...

I MUST confess! After checking your blog half a dozen times looking for a new topic, those delicious donuts staring and my demons finally overcame me and I broke down and bought 2 donuts.. greedily ate them in the car on the way home licking my fingers after each delicious one! Made sure there was no tell tale glaze on my chin to tip off the family as I didn't bring any to share...oh the weakness of it all!

Alexica said...

Tim Hortons is indeed the Canadian brand. Besides Tim Bits they have a lot of good food like soups and subs.

Chiara said...

Alexica-I have edited your comment to remove the more obvious commercial last sentence. Your blog profile linked in your name leads to the 2 blogs you have which share that information.

Normally I just poof the commercial pseudo-comment, but your first point was well taken. Tim Hortons does sell more substantive food products, and one can make healthy choices there.

Thanks for pointing that out!

Chiara said...

Majed--thank you for both your comments, and for expanding on the fast food-health problems from a more international perspective. I am a firm believer in herbal remedies, which means I think they need to be used wisely, and in appropriate doses, with recognition of expected effects, side effects, possible complications and interactions with other prescribed medication or herbal remedies.

Oby--well done! Make sure there are neither demands for sharing nor recriminations following such and escapade.

I have a number of posts in progress, which were interrupted by life interfering with blogging. The nerve of life!!!! :D

A new topic will be up soon, and I look forward to the comments of all!

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I hope Tim Hortons becomes well established in the middle east. It is too bad when the Canadian soldiers leave Kandahar they are not leaving the base Rim Hortons behind.

I thought you would have been more politically correct refering to the wee hockey players as "guys and gals" :)

oby said...

In defense of doughnuts:


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