National Donut Day

We must love donuts, since there are two National Donut Days in the year. The first Friday in June is National Donut Day, along with November 5, that are celebrated by doughnut lovers across the nation.

Each year on the first Friday in June, people happily celebrate National Doughnut or Donut Day. This day celebrates the doughnut and honors the Salvation Army “Lassies”, the women that served doughnuts to soldiers during WWI. In 1917, the original “Salvation Army Doughnut” was first served by the ladies of the Salvation Army. It was during WWI that the Salvation Army “lassies” were sent to the front lines of Europe. Home cooked foods, provided by these brave volunteers, were a morale boost to the troops.

National Doughnut Day, an “unofficial” National holiday was created by The Salvation Army in 1938 to honor the women who served the doughnuts to soldiers in World War I. This day began as a fund-raiser for Chicago’s Salvation Army. The goal of their 1938 fund-raiser was to help the needy during the Great Depression. The doughnuts were often cooked in oil inside the metal helmets of American soldiers.  American infantrymen were then commonly called “doughboys”.  A more common spelling is Donut.

 

The history of the doughnut is disputed:

  •  There is one theory that suggests they were invented in North America by Dutch settlers who were responsible for popularizing other American desserts including cookies, apple pie, cream pie and cobbler.
  • An American, Hanson Gregory, claimed to have invented the ring shaped doughnut in 1847 while on board a lime-trading ship at the age of 16.  He claimed to have punched a hole in the center of dough with the ship’s tin pepper box and later taught the technique to his mother.
  • Anthropologist Paul R Mullins states that the first cookbook mentioning doughnuts was an 1803 English volume which included doughnuts in an appendix of American recipes.
  • An 1808 short story describing a spread of “fire-cakes and dough-nuts” is the earliest known recorded usage of the term “doughnut”.
  • A more commonly cited first written recording of the term is Washington Irving’s reference to “doughnuts” in 1809 in his History of New York.  He described “balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog’s fat and called doughnuts.  Today, these “nuts” of fried dough are called doughnut holes.

 

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Photography: Sarah Kieffer from the The Vanilla Bean Blog

Source: National Day Calendar

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