Taking a bite out of history, Jones serving up vintage treat

PEABODY – This Independence Day, Peabody residents will have the opportunity to enjoy a unique treat, courtesy of Marilyn Jones at the Peabody Sunflower Theater from 10 a.m. to noon. Jones will be serving Spudnuts, a fried pastry, similar to a donut, but including mashed potatoes. Jones got her recipe, and her fryer, in the late 1950s in college at Oklahoma A&M – now Oklahoma State. “I worked in the foods lab in college, and whether I developed the recipe, or figure out how to make Spudnuts, I don’t know, but I’ve had it ever since,” she said. Spudnuts were a popular fad in the 1950s, starting in Utah In 1946, by the end of the decade, there was a Spudnuts Shop in over half the states. However, after a business bust in the late 1970s, authentic spudnuts are a rare commodity, with only a few dozen Spudnuts Shops still in operation. Jones said serving spudnuts in Peabody is a way to enjoy a rare treat today. Jones brought her spudnuts knowledge and fryer that her husband, Gary, won as a prize in college, to Peabody in 1961. Jones said she will still be using that same fryer at the Sunflower Theater on July 4. Jones said she had hung up her fryer years ago, after she and her husband stoped hosting people at their farm. However, during COVID-19, she brought the fryer, and spudnuts recipe, out of retirement. “I was teaching women how to spin, and they came for spinning one day, and we made spudnuts. They went up and down Main Street passing them out,” said Jones. Jones said the not-too-sweet confection includes a cup of mashed potatoes and is yeast-risen. “When I think of donuts, I think really gooey and glazed. These are quite tasty; they aren’t as sweet. We just dust them with some granulated sugar,” she said. Jones said even as a senior member of the community she wants to be involved and make a difference for Peabody’s future. “I’ve lived here 60 years, and enjoy doing things in the community,” said Jones. Her goal, she said, is simply to draw more attention to the Sunflower Theater and the ongoing restoration work happening inside and out. Other celebrations in Peabody on July 4 include the annual parade, which this year will feature belly dancers, a 150th birthday cake in honor of Peabody to be served to the community, the Historical Society will be handing out cupcakes and ice cream from 2 to 4 p.m. and the fireworks display will begin just after dark. The Sunflower Theatre will be selling long johns from 10 a.m. To 12 p.m. on July 4, outside the theater. Shirley Davis is creating a sheet cake commemorating Peabody’s 150th anniversary which will be on on display inside the theater and ready to eat at the park at 7:30 p.m.

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