Doughnuts or donuts (depending on where you are from) are a delicious and sugary food which is often eaten at breakfast but is enjoyed throughout the day. The dough is deep fried and covered in glaze or sugar or icing. It can be filled with fruit jelly, custard or twisted into rope. Today is National Doughnut Day, which is observed on the first Friday of June. Many donut shops offer free donuts on this day. National chains, Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme has special deals on this day.
The origin of the donut has been debated and there are a few theories as to the beginning of this wonderful treat. First, theory claims that Dutch settlers in America invented the doughnut. The Dutch word, oliekoek, means oil cake. A second theory claims that 16 year old Hanson Gregory invented the doughnut as we recognize it today. He was aboard a lime-tradiing ship when he was dissatisfied with the greasiness of the doughnuts. He used the ship’s tin pepper box to cut a hole in the center and thus cut down on the greasiness. When he got home, he taught the technique to his mother and the style took off. A third theory, an 1803 English cookbook references doughnut in a section for American foods. The final theory claims that the term “dow nuts” were first mentioned in a book of recipes and domestic tips written by the wife of Baron Thomas Dimsdale in 1800 in England. Whatever the origin, we agree we were glad they were invented.
The national day for donuts was started by the Salvation Army in 1938 to bring awareness to the social welfare programs they offered during the Great Depression. It referred to a practice from World War I when donuts and hot coffee were brought the soldiers on the front lines. The Salvation Army’s mission was to give spiritual aid and comfort to the soldiers. A link to home and family and what says home better than hot coffee and donuts. The female volunteers who brought the donuts to the solders came to be known as “donut lassies.” Every year on National Donut Day, the Salvation Army has a fundraiser in Chicago.
Enjoy a doughnut for me!