Friday, September 16, 2016

Eating up the Hill: Tim Hortons and the saga of the devolving Apple Fritter

Like many Canadians, Tim Hortons is often a part of my morning routine. Not for coffee -- I'm not a coffee drinker -- but a few days a week I'll stop on my way to work for a bagel and/or a donut.

Or, to be more specific, a fritter. For more than a decade, the apple fritter has been my go-to unhealthy pastry from Tims -- for the past year, the location at Sparks and Bank that does a brisk business from Hill and other nearby office workers. I used to favour another fritter, the blueberry, but that was removed from their menu some years ago.

Also removed some years ago? The apple. Yes, there used to be actual apples in the apple fritter! Tender morsels of fruit bathed in delicious cinnamon, in reasonable quantity, were inside every pastry. Over time, the generosity of the apple infusion declined until, finally, we were left with a pastry oxymoron: an apple fritter with no apple. They still called it an apple fritter. But there was no apple therein.

Last fall, during the campaign, while transiting a Tims drivethrough in the great riding of Scarborough Centre, the driver asked if I wanted anything. "Apple fritter," I reflexively replied. As we drove away and I bit into my canvass fuel I noted two things: there's a new crumble on this fritter and, what's this, there's apple in here! A generous portion of not just apple, but apple sauce. What wonder is this?

My next trip into a Tims told the tale. They hadn't returned the apple to the apple fritter, recognizing it's a stupid name without any actual apple. No, the apple-free apple fritter was still on the menu. No, they had introduced a seasonal, "premium" donut, the "apple pie fritter." So if you want an apple fritter with actual apple (and pie crumble) you can have it -- for a limited time, and an extra 50 cents.

Clever corporate overlords, no? But they weren't done yet. Fast forward to this year, and the return of apple pie fritter season. I've had two this week and, guess what? THEY'VE TAKEN THE DAMNED APPLE OUT AGAIN!

Yes, that's right. Last year's apple sauce bounty was a feint. This year, my apple pie fritters have averaged three measly specks of apple. What gives, Tim Hortons? Are you hoarding apple somewhere? Are store owners sitting in the back rooms gorging on our apple sauce?

Now you can buy an apple fritter for 99 cents or an apple pie fritter for $1.49 -- neither of them with apple!

This just won't do, Tim Hortons. Because it's 2016. Better is always possible. #BringBackTheApple

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