Last month, Philadelphia publication Billy Penn reported that Jim Martin, the executive chairman of Martin’s, the packaged bread company known for its potato rolls, had donated more than $100,000 to far-right gubernatorial candidate and Pennsylvania Senator Doug Mastriano. What are some of Trump-endorsed Mastriano’s favorite issues? Prohibition without exception of abortion, election fraud of 2020, Refusal of the COVID vaccine, Christian nationalism. You get the essentials. Cool.
As is usually the case when it turns out that people with a lot of money are doing bad things with that money, calls for a boycott and divestment from Martin quickly followed. Shake Shack, the burger company with more than 250 locations, has used Martin’s rolls since it opened nearly 20 years ago, and even with growing pressure from food media luminaries to stop serving its sandwiches on the rolls. potatoes, Shake Shack decided to stay out of it, saying in a statement: “We continue to be in active conversation with Martin’s to express our concern.” (Philadelphia-based Federal Donuts says “they’re working on it.”)
Either way, all of this will certainly lead to at least one thing: Mastriano supporters buying even more Martin, weaponizing boycotts in the opposite direction. (When beer baron Dick Yuengling endorsed Trump in 2016, he proudly declared that the resulting boycott did not harm its sales. Remember this photo of Ivanka Trump holding a can of Goya beans next to her head? I could go on.) But while waiting for Mastriano’s faithful to react, the summer barbecues are already beginning. Many may be wondering: what are we supposed to do without potato rolls?
May I suggest King’s Hawaiian?
King’s Hawaiian is a family bakery it’s been around since the 1950s – you probably know them best for their Hawaiian buns, which are fused together in grids of 12 displayed as a set of abs in a bright orange wrapper. King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls are divine additions to pulled pork sandwiches and ham and cheese sliders and just about anything you want to add to it. Guy Fieri became a spokesperson for King’s Hawaiian last year, and he makes cheeseburgers and burgers in a commercial who promotes something he calls “Slider Sunday”. Slider Sunday, you say? Sounds pretty good. No notes.
On a recent research trip to my local grocery store, I picked up every type of King’s Hawaiian roll I could find and compared them to other name brand roll companies. It’s no wonder King’s Hawaiian got the mayor of Flavortown to promote its buns: unlike the excessively pungent and ridiculously artificial taste of its competitors, the flavor of King’s Hawaiian buns reigns supreme. The texture is soft without sacrificing structure. And like most industrially produced breads, one of the ingredients in King’s Hawaiian’s Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls is potato flour. So, technically, these are also potato buns, right? Nope??
As King’s Hawaiian continues to expand its product line (which will be even more so if we start replacing its buns with Martin’s at every BBQ this summer), I have just one request: King’s Hawaiian, can we get a standard adult size hamburger bun? ? The brand currently sells a painting sweet buns, pretzel buns, sandwich bread, and slider and roll sized buns with a variety of savory options like jalapeno, but the only current choice for a bun regular burger is the sweetest variety. Don’t get me wrong: I will be celebrate Slider Sunday with sweet Hawaiian rolls. But sometimes you want a big burger and a subtly flavored buttery potato bun to go with it. Now that Martin’s is out of the picture, King’s Hawaiian can take its rightful place in the… bun.