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First Friday of June: National Donut Day

4 min read

Originally written on June 3, 2022 – Updated 2023

Each year on the first Friday in June, people participate in National Doughnut or Donut Day.
Is your belly rumbling when you read “National Donut Day”?
We wouldn’t be surprised if it was, as most of us love these delicious round marvels!
There are many varieties of doughnuts outside of that most commonly known, including fritters and the popular filled doughnut, that come in a huge variety, including a chocolate covered delight filled with cream. Glazed doughnuts filled with all sorts of delicious fruit or marmalades are equally popular.
National Donut Day celebrates this wonderful treat, as well as its history and the ladies who did something very special with these delicious goodies during World War 1.

Of course, we don’t need a reason to celebrate this day that, however, has also a special significance.
There wasn’t a lot for soldiers to cheer about when they risked life and limb on a daily basis, but National Donut Day came to pass, in part, due to the efforts of a doctor in the military in the first World War who sought to brighten the day of the wounded soldiers he worked on. On his first day to the Military Base, he purchased 8 dozen doughnuts and gave one to each soldier he worked on.
After giving one to Lieutenant General Samuel Geary, who received it with great mirth and appreciation for the doctors work, Samuel decided to start a fundraiser, letting the young doctor, Morgan Pett, to continue to provide doughnuts to his patients.
The fundraiser began working together with the Salvation Army who, after a fact-finding mission, determined that many needs of the soldiers could be met by creating social centers that would provide all sorts of amenities…including the doughnuts.
The Salvation Army sent 250 volunteers to France to help put these huts together, which soon became a mainstay of military life.
One record of a day in the huts recorded up to 300 doughnuts and 700 cups of coffee being served as part of their service!
As the majority of the workers being female, the Salvation Army workers started to be known as “Doughnut Dollies.”
The doughnuts were often cooked in oil inside the metal helmets of American soldiers. American infantrymen were then commonly called “doughboys.” A more standard spelling of the word is “donut.”
Back at home, in honor of the work that had been created for the brave soldiers on the front line, people used ‘National Donut Day’ to raise awareness about the war, and to raise funds for the Salvation Army, a tradition that happens still today.

Well…this is the history of National Donut Day, but what about the history of the humble doughnut itself?
Actually it isn’t clear, but one of the earliest accounts of donuts are attributed to Dutch settlers that brought them over to New York around 1809.
Their iconic look started making an appearance in the United States in the mid-19th century, and It seems that Elizabeth Gregory, a New England ship captain’s mother, made a delicious deep-fried dough treat to feed her son Hanson Gregory and his crew. She made them as they could easily be stored onboard, and it was thought that the goodies she produced could help ward off colds and the prospect of scurvy and other diseases. Elizabeth put walnuts in the center where the dough couldn’t cook through, and she (quite rightfully so), named them doughnuts.
The origin of the hole, at least, according to the legend, is when someone, out of a distaste for the undercooked centers and greasiness of the existing shapes and options, punched a hole in the center with a tin pepper box. And voila, the traditional shape of the dessert you crave and love today was born. Allegedly….
Doughnuts didn’t become widely available for public consumption unti the 1920s when inventor, Adolph Levitt, created a gadget to mass-produce doughnuts from his bakery. Word caught on, and by 1934 at Chicago’s world fair, doughnuts had become poster material.
People the world over soon began to fall in love with these tasty offerings.
It was 1989 when a first “official” Donut fanatic appears. ‘The Simpsons’ is aired for the first time and the world is introduced to Homer, a true donut lover!

So, what could you do to celebrate National Donut Day? Celebrate the day by enjoying your favorite doughnut. There are many varieties of doughnuts to choose from, too!

Images from web – Google Research

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