There isn’t much anybody needs to know about doughnuts. As long as they’re sweet, delicious and readily available, most Americans are pretty happy.
But for National Doughnut Day, celebrated twice throughout the year, people tend to crave something more substantial.
And no, we’re not talking about cinnamon rolls or eclairs.
Americans get hungry for a little history.
The first (in June) was declared in 1938 by the Salvation Army to honor the volunteers, or “Dough Lassies,” who made and served doughnuts to troops fighting during the first World War.
The origins of November’s Doughnut Day are more obscure, with some saying it began as part of a bakery’s Veterans Day promotion and others writing that a hungry Vietnam POW named Orson Swindle convinced his captors that Nov. 10 was a huge holiday (National Doughnut Day), which surprisingly resulted in the jailers ordering everybody sticky buns.
As “The Donut: History, Recipes, and Lore from Boston to Berlin” by Michael Krondl points out, Gregory would cut the center from his mother’s doughnuts (she packed them for him and his shipmates) because the dough was still raw in the middle. He returned home with the idea, and the ring became a thing.
4. Tasty traditions in the Netherlands
On New Year’s Eve in the Netherlands, the Dutch traditionally eat oliebollen, or small doughnuts studded with dried fruit.
The tradition of eating oliebollen (literally “oil balls”) is thought to have originated with early Germanic tribes as a way to ward off the pagan goddess Perchta, who would fly through the skies during Yule and slice open the bellies of disobedient tribespeople. Anyone who had eaten oliebollen, however, was spared, seeing as Perchta’s sword would slide off their full, greasy bellies.
The doughnut industry has become a booming one over the years, with Dunkin’, Krispy Kreme and Honey Dew among the most popular chains. There are also smaller shops across the country that sell the yummy treat with their own unique twists.
Michael Bartiromo contributed reporting.