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Saturday, 1 November 2014



Dutch settlers came to America in the 1630s seeking freedom from the strictly enforced Writs of Pastry. These laws were created after a freak accident in which a cow kicked over a giant fryer causing much of Strudeldorf to be drenched in hot hog’s fat and fried to a golden brown. The new arrivals, careful not to mention the Strudeldorf incident back in Holland, were allowed to resume the making of their fried cakes, which were an predecessor of doughnuts. These early doughnuts did not have holes at all; they were quite literally little "nuts" of dough.

These early sweet treats went by the oh-so-appetizing name of "olykoeks," meaning? Oily cakes.

The first cookbook mentioning doughnuts was an 1803 English volume which included doughnuts in an appendix of American recipes.

The word “doughnut" is presumed to have been a combination of the words dough and nut. It first appeared in print in Washington Irving’s 1809 Knickerbocker’s History of New York: "An enormous dish of balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog’s fat, and called doughnuts, or olykoeks."

Ship's captain Hanson Gregory claimed to have invented the ring-shaped doughnut on June 22, 1847 aboard a lime-trading ship when he was a 16 year-old crewman. Dissatisfied with the greasiness of doughnuts twisted into various shapes and with the raw center of regular doughnuts, Gregory stated that he punched a hole in the center of dough with the ship's tin pepper bo. He later taught the technique to his mother.

In 1940 a  proposal was made to build a 300-foot statue on the summit of Mount Battle, Maine in honor of Captain Hansen Gregory. It was to be lit by floodlights so it could be seen fifty miles out to sea. The money was never raised to build this eighth wonder of the world.

The first known printed use of donut was in Peck's Bad Boy and his Pa by George W. Peck, published in 1900, in which a character is quoted as saying, "Pa said he guessed he hadn't got much appetite, and he would just drink a cup of coffee and eat a donut."

The spelling of "donut"  did not overtake the more traditional "doughnut"in America  until Dunkin Donuts stores dotted the nation a few decades ago. according to Grammarist. They say that only one-third of American writers use "donut," with most preferring "doughnut."

On one of his expeditions, polar explorer Admiral Richard Byrd, a noted donut-lover, took along 100 barrels of donut flour, enough for two years' worth of donuts.

Adolph Levitt invented the first donut machine in 1920.

After the US entrance into World War I in 1917, the Salvation Army set up canteens/social centers termed "huts" that could serve baked goods, provide writing supplies and stamps, and provide a clothes-mending service for the American soldiers. Because of the difficulties of providing freshly baked goods from huts established in abandoned buildings near to the front lines, two Salvation Army volunteers (Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance) came up with the idea of providing doughnuts. These were an instant hit and soon many soldiers were visiting The Salvation Army huts. The women who did this work became known by the servicemen as "Doughnut Dollies".

Salvation Army volunteers serving baked goods

National Doughnut Day started in 1938 as a fund raiser for Chicago's The Salvation Army. Their aim was to honor those Salvation Army "Lassies" who served doughnuts to soldiers during World War I.

National Doughnut Day, or in the US National Donut Day, is on the first Friday of June each year. It succeeds the Doughnut Day event created by The Salvation Army in 1938.

American prisoners of war at Son Tay prison camp tricked their North Vietnamese captors into giving out donuts by telling them that the birthday of the United States Marine Corps was once referred to as National Donut Day.


The largest doughnut ever made was an American-style jelly doughnut weighing 1.7 tons (3739 lbs.), which was 16 feet (4.9 m) in diameter and 16 inches (40.6 cm) high in the center. It was made in Utica, New York, USA on January 21, 1993.

The largest box of doughnuts was a Krispy Kreme box weighing 135 kg (297 lb 10 oz). It was produced by The Kuwait Food Co. Americana in Kuwait, Kuwait, on May 30, 2009. The box was filled with 2,700 pieces of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

The world's largest doughnut mosaic was created in 2012 at the Lviv Pampykh Festival in Ukraine. The mosaic used 7,040 doughnuts. After it was built, the doughnuts were eaten by those who attended the record-setting event.

The fastest time to eat a jam doughnut with no hands and without licking the lips is 11.41 seconds. The record was achieved by Philip Joseph Santoro in San Francisco, California, on April 17, 2014.

The world record for doughnut eating is held by competitive eater Joey Chestnut who consumed 55 glazed doughnuts in 8 minutes in June 2017.


Americans eat 10 billion doughnuts a year.

The US donut industry is worth 3.6 billion dollars.

Dunkin' Donuts used to offer a namesake donut that had an actual pastry handle for dipping into coffee.

Boston has the most doughnut shops per capita than anywhere else in the world. The city has one doughnut shop for every 2,480 people.

Per capita, Canada has more donut shops than any other country.

In the United States,13 people have the first name "Donut."

Renée Zellweger ate 20 doughnuts a day in order to gain weight for her Bridget Jones sequel.

In 2014 a Sheffield, England, mathematician calculated that the perfect ring doughnut is 72-82mm in diameter with a hole that is 11mm in diameter.

 A plain glazed donut. This was bought at a Dunkin' Donuts in Brooklyn

Ray's Original Glazed Donut only has 220 calories, while a bagel and cream cheese averages 450 calories.

A 150-pound woman would have to walk 4 mph for 48 minutes to burn off a 240-calorie donut. This would be equivalent to just over 3 miles.

Homer Simpson once had a theory that the universe was shaped like a donut, the theory has some validity according to cosmologists.

Sources Food For Thought by Ed Pearce, Chicago Now, Wikipedia,

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