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JR’s Donut Castle in pepperoni roll book

Morgantown-based writer Candace Nelson has published her first book, “The West Virginia Pepperoni Roll.”

Even though she traces the pepperoni roll’s origins to the coal mining communities of north central West Virginia, Nelson devotes an entire section of her book, released on June 1, to how JR’s Donut Castle in Parkersburg helped to “shape” the pepperoni roll in the state.

Nelson said JR’s Donut Castle helped to expand the pepperoni roll, West Virginia’s unofficial state food, to western sections of the state.

In traveling throughout the state, Nelson said, people mentioned the pepperoni rolls at the longtime bakery on Emerson Avenue. Nelson visited JR’s Donut Castle to try its pepperoni rolls.

She writes: “Perhaps taking a cue from The Donut Shop, JR’s Donut Castle, a Parkersburg institution known for more than thirty-four types of doughnuts, has also added the savory pepperoni roll. The castle-shaped bakery makes five types: plain pepperoni, pepperoni with American cheese, pepperoni with pepper-jack cheese, pizza (pepperoni and pizza sauce), and pepperoni with jalapeno sauce.”

Nelson notes that JR’s Donut Castle favors placing slices of pepperoni in its rolls, while other establishments use sticks of pepperoni (at Italian businesses in Clarksburg) and a few use ground pepperoni.

Aaron Parsons, owner of JR’s Donut Castle, is quoted in the book as saying, “We cover more area with slices than sticks.” JR Parsons, Aaron’s father, was the longtime owner of JR’s Donut Castle who passed away last year.

“I also give a little nod to The Pizza Place” of Parkersburg in the book, Nelson said.

“This book documents the history of the humble pepperoni roll that all West Virginians love,” said Nelson, who works in marketing at West Virginia University and writes a food column. “From festivals celebrating the snack and eating contests to modern interpretations of the pepperoni roll and recipes, the book aims to cement the pepperoni roll’s place in our state’s culture,” she said.

“The West Virginia Pepperoni Roll” is published by West Virginia University Press. It is available at Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com.

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A write-up (with photograph) about Parkersburg native M. Aaron Suek appears on the website of Nokona baseball glove company, nokona.com. Suek, a 2002 graduate of Parkersburg South High School, is a non-commissioned officer with 15 years of service in the United States Air Force.

He is pictured with his American Legend Series AMG125 glove — one of several Nokonas he owns. “Aaron has played baseball with this particular Nokona all over the United States as well as Afghanistan and South Korea and many places in between,” the Nokona website states. He is stationed at Beale Air Force Base in California, where he lives with his wife Chesilin Suek, daughter Azlin Suek and son Barrett Suek.

Suek was on the baseball team at Parkersburg South High School.

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Ron Taylor is pleased by the response to his new book, “Priceless Memories of Troop 3: The Adventures, History, and Traditions of An Iconic 100-Year-Old Parkersburg, West Virginia Boy Scout Troop.”

Taylor, a 1956 graduate of Parkersburg High School and a member of Troop 3 – BSA since 1949, lives in Cincinnati. He recently signed copies of his book at the Don B. Lowe Scout House in Parkersburg.

“The compliments and feedback from those who have purchased my book have been outstanding,” Taylor said in an email. Cincinnati Book Publishing released Taylor’s book on April 17 in time for Troop 3’s 100th anniversary reunion on Aug. 26.

Taylor said he was kept busy greeting and meeting a steady stream of Troop 3 alums, friends and members that turned out for the two-hour book signing.

“Today’s experience exceeded my expectations. Since all of the proceeds go to support the Scouting programs of Troop 3, I want to sincerely thank the people of Parkersburg for their enthusiastic acceptance of my book,” he said after the event.

The book is available on Amazon.com.

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The North End Tavern and Brewery has been a beer vendor at all 12 years of the Taste of Parkersburg — an event that NET co-owner Joe Roedersheimer supports.

“I enjoy it (the Taste of Parkersburg),” Roedersheimer told me at last Saturday’s event in downtown Parkersburg. “We need more of it. It helps the community. It is a great success.”

The Taste of Parkersburg, with its mix of food, wine, beer and music, allows Roedersheimer to meet with local business people he does not normally get to see, he said.

More than 100 volunteers and a steering committee of 20 people help to make the Taste of Parkersburg happen, said Wendy Shriver, executive director of Downtown PKB, event organizer. All of the 58 reserved tables, placed under three tents, were sold this year, Shriver said.

Shriver reported that advance ticket sales were up this year and more sponsors signed on for this popular celebration in Parkersburg.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com

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