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7 June 2019

I decided that if I wrote an entry about donuts, I'd remember that today is National Donut Day and would remember to go out and get donuts for breakfast.

Then I stumbled across an Alton Brown Good Eats episode all about donuts and realized that there is more history to donuts than I realized.  The donut is an offshoot of the Dutch "oliekoek" which was round balls of dough, fried and covered with a sugary substance.

The Dutch brought donuts with them so that by  the start of the 19th century, this country had donuts.  The earliest printed mention of donuts comes from a 1809 book by Washington Irving.

Sometimes the table was graced with immense apple-pies, or saucers full of preserved peaches and pears; but it was always sure to boast of an enormous dish of balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog’s fat, and called dough-nuts, or oly koeks: a delicious kind of cake, at present scarce known in this city, excepting in genuine Dutch families.

Wikikpedia adds a bit more of the history:  Hanson Gregory, an American, claimed to have invented the ring-shaped doughnut in 1847 aboard a lime-trading ship when he was 16 years old. Gregory was dissatisfied with the greasiness of doughnuts twisted into various shapes and with the raw center of regular doughnuts. He claimed to have punched a hole in the center of dough with the ship's tin pepper box, and to have later taught the technique to his mother. Smithsonian Magazine states that his mother, Elizabeth Gregory, "made a wicked deep-fried dough that cleverly used her son's spice cargo of nutmeg and cinnamon, along with lemon rind," and "put hazelnuts or walnuts in the center, where the dough might not cook through", and called the food 'doughnuts'.

Though "doughnut" is the proper spelling, "donut" is also correct and given that Americans are all for doing things the fast way, is much faster to type than doughnut.

When I was a kid, there was a donut shop on Market Street in San Francisco and I loved standing at the window and watching the hot donuts roll off the machine and smell that wonderful aroma.

When our kids were little, my mother usually had donut holes for them to snack on when we visited (Walt's mother had M&Ms).

The best donuts I've had recently were apple cider donuts, which we bought on Apple Hill in the fall a couple of years ago.  Those were wonderful...and every fruit stand sold them.

I was going to try making them, since they are baked, not fried, and went out and bought donut baking pans...but have since lost the pans, so I have not yet made them.

I probably won't get all patriotic and try these....

Being a plain person, my druthers are always either sugar or glazed, but apparently you can find all sorts of specialty donuts.  I'll be happy if I can just have my sugar donuts tomorrow morning.




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