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Donuts Were Once Called “Olykoeks”

donut day

Each year on the first Friday in June, people participate in 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.

  • The original doughnuts. The earliest form of the doughnut, which came to America from the Netherlands, was called an olykoek. It did not have a center hole, but was also made of fried, sweetened dough. The translation of olykoek is “oily cake.”
  • The first “real” doughnuts.  A 16 year-old New Yorker, Hanson Gregory, hated doughnuts with a raw center. In 1847, he used a pepper pot to cut out the center, causing his doughnuts to cook more evenly.
  • A refugee from Czarist Russia, Adolph Levitt invented the first doughnut machine in 1920.
  • “Dunking a doughnut” According to popular legend, Mae Murray, an actress during the silent film era, began this trend after accidentally dropping a doughnut in her coffee.
  • Every year, 10 billion doughnuts are made, which means Americans consume approximately 27 million doughnuts everyday!
  • Boston, MA, has the most doughnut shops per person with approximately 2,480 people sharing one shop.
  • While no one really knows when doughnuts were invented or who invented them, doughnuts were originally made as a long twist of dough. Not in the ring form that is most common these days. It was also common in England for donuts to be made in a ball shape and injected with Jam after they were cooked. Both methods of cooking involve no human intervention as the ball and twist will turn itself over when the underside is cooked.
  • Doughnuts vs. Donuts? “Doughnut” is actually proper, but “donut” is acceptable. If you look in older dictionaries, you’ll only find “doughnut.” However, the Merriam-Webster dictionary now lists “donut” as a variant of “doughnut.”
  • The largest doughnut ever made was an American-style jelly donut weighing 1.7 tons, which was 16 feet in diameter and 16 inches high in the center.
  • Per capita, Canada has more doughnut shops than any other country.
  • The Guinness World record for doughnut eating is held by John Haight, who consumed 29 donuts in just over 6 minutes.


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