Last updated on November 5, 2019 at 09:08 am
There are few foods as iconic as the donut (or, depending on whom you ask, the doughnut). It is a simple mixture of flour, milk, yeast, sugar, salt, and eggs, but demand has been going strong since they were introduced to America by the Dutch. Of course, the history of the donut dates way before the history of the new world¾ back to medieval times and, some speculate, even ancient Rome or Greece where cooks fried strips of dough and coated them with honey.
In the 1800s, raw eggs were introduced into the original donut batter, making a richer, tastier treat. Following the introduction of the new recipe, diners often complained that the middle of the thick cake would be raw. Necessity being the mother of most good inventions, a hole was introduced. The donut as we know it was born.
To honor the amazing donut, here are 10 facts you may not know about these delicious rings of fried dough.
- Captain Hanson Gregory, a Dutch sailor is rumored to to be the first to put a hole in a donut. One popular invention story says on June 22, 1847, Captain Gregory’s ship hit a sudden storm. He impaled the doughnut on one of the spokes on the steering wheel to keep his hands free and presto¾the holed donut was born.
- The first known printed recipe for doughnuts dates back to 1803. It was included as part of an appendix of American recipes in an English cookbook.
- During World War I, female Salvation Army workers known as “Donut Girls” distributed donuts to the American soldiers fighting in France. Soldiers fond of the treat became known as “Doughboys.”
- In 1948, Jewish immigrant William Rosenberg opened a donut shop called Open Kettle in Quincy, MA. Two years later, he changed the name to Dunkin’ Donuts. When Rosenberg passed away in 2002, there were over 5,000 Dunkin’ Donut shops in nearly 40 countries.
- The largest donut ever made weighed 1.7 tons, measured 16 feet in diameter, and was 16 inches high. It was jelly-filled.
- The US donut industry is worth approximately $3.6 billion.
- The record for eating the most donuts is 49 glazed donuts in eight minutes.
- The first known donut dunk occurred in 1920 when actress Mae Murray slipped and accidentally thrust a donut into a cup of coffee.
- The glazed donut is the most popular in America. They are consumed at nearly three times the rate of any other donut.
- Adolph Levitt invented the donut machine in 1920. He called it the “Wonderful Almost Human Automatic Doughnut Machine.” It took him and an engineer 12 tries to perfect, but once he did, it changed donut history forever.
Plymouth Rock in New Jersey would love to hear about your favorite donut, donut shop, or recipe. Leave a comment below and enjoy!