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.
- 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.
- The donut or doughnut is a deep-fried piece of dough or batter. It comes from the Dutch origin of olykoeck or “oily cake”. The two most common types of donuts are the flattened sphere (you know…the ones that are injected with jelly or custard) and the ring donut.
- Dunkin’ Donuts is the largest donut chain, with 11,000 stores in 33 countries serving more than 5 million customers per day. The first Dunkin’ Donuts was opened in 1950, a revamp of William Rosenberg’s coffee-and-doughnut shop Open Kettle.
- Krispy Kreme is probably best known for their fresh, hot, glazed, yeast-raised doughnuts. The company’s “Hot Doughnuts Now” flashing sign is an integral part of the brands appeal and fame.
- Jelly-filled and Chocolate frosted also rank as their top sellers. Coconut Crunch, although not a number one seller, still remains one of the over 52 varieties of donuts the chain produces on a yearly basis.
- Americans consume 10 billion doughnuts annually. It really is too big of a number when you consider that as of 1997, there were 6,792 doughnut shops in the U.S. alone. In 2005, I can only imagine that the number of doughnut shops has increased dramatically. Unfortunately, 1997 was the last year that all overall statistics and data is available on this subject (or at least that I can find!).
- National Doughnut Day was officially established in 1938 by the Chicago Salvation Army to raise much-needed funds during the Great Depression.
- In the U.S. alone, more than 10 billion doughnuts are made every year.
- 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.
- Adolph Levitt, a Russian-born immigrant, invented the first automated doughnut machine in 1920. He called it the “Wonderful Almost Human Automatic Donut Machine.”
- The US doughnut industry is worth 3.6 billion dollars.
- Ten people in the United States have the last name Doughnut or Donut. Ninety-five people have the name Longjohn (the name of a long doughnut). Twelve people have the name Bearclaw, 498 people have the name Sprinkles, 470 people in the U.S. have the name Fritter, and 1,634 have the name Sugar.
- If a person added a doughnut a day to their regular diet, they would gain about one extra pound every 10 days.
- In the 1934 movie It Happened One Night, Clark Gable gave birth to the trend of dunking donuts in milk when he showed a fellow actor the “right way to do it.”
- Admiral Richard E. Byrd took 100 barrels of donut flour (enough for two years) on one of his South Pole expeditions
- The city with the most doughnut shops per person is Boston, MA. Rounding out the top five are Long Beach, CA; Dallas, TX; Sacramento, CA; and Fort Worth, TX.
- Researchers have noted that the size of the hole in a doughnut correlates with the quality of the economy. Specifically, the worse the economy, the bigger the doughnut hole.
- The French used to call their doughnuts Pet de Nonne, which means “Nun’s Farts.”
- There are more doughnut shops per capita in Canada than anywhere else on the planet. Canadians eat more doughnuts than any other country’s citizens. Although the doughnut is often seen as an American icon, it has become Canada’s unofficial national snack.