There are many cultural differences between the West and East coasts but it takes a true doughnut eater to notice the one involving different-colored bakery boxes. When Jessie Oleson of Cakespy (and our own baking blogger) moved out west, she spotted the Pepto Bismol-colored boxes after being so used to white ones. It turns out the difference has something to do with Cambodia (yes, we're all over the map here). According to an "Ask Chris" column in Los Angeles Magazine:
Cambodians fleeing the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s arrived in large numbers in Southern California, where they were recruited by Winchell’s. At the time the coated, greaseproof boxes that held the pastries were costly and came in white, the color of mourning in Cambodia. So the immigrants found a company, Evergreen in Cerritos, that made the boxes cheaper and uncoated in pink.
Indeed, the pink boxes do appear to be slightly cheaper than the white boxes. Not only that, but the color is pretty forgiving of grease stains—it just turns a darker shade of pink whereas on white boxes, oily blotches become a dismal gray. While the pink box may have roots in Southern California, they've traveled up and down the coast, from Canter's Deli in Los Angeles to Sugar Bakery and Cafe in Seattle.
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