November 5 is one of two National Doughnut Days observed by doughnut lovers across the nation. The first Friday in June is the other day doughnuts steal the bakery case spotlight ready to tease their way into white bakery box home!
For more information on the National Doughnut Day celebrated in June, click here.
The history of the doughnut is disputed:
- One theory suggests Dutch settlers brought doughnuts to North America much like they brought other traditional 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. According to Gregory, he 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 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 word 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.
Donut versus Doughnut
- Print ads for cake and glazed donuts and doughnuts existed from at least 1896 in the United States.
- Peck’s Bad Boy and his Pa, written by George W. Peck and published in 1900, contained the first known printed use of donut. In it, 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.”
- In 1919, the Square Donut Company of America was founded, offering an easier to package product.
The more traditional spelling is doughnut. However, both doughnut and donut are pervasive in American English.
While doughnuts come in a large variety of recipes, flavors and toppings, just like many pastries, we are only limited by imagination and ingredients at hand. From syrups and jellies to sprinkles and custards, top them, fill them, bake them or fry them, doughnuts have a mouth-watering way of glazing and dusting their way into our shopping carts and finding their way to the break room at work to share.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Stop at your favorite doughnut shop and indulge in a fresh doughnut or try making your own with one of the following recipes: