You don’t have to know me very well to know that I am a donut fiend. I truly believe that the donut is the only kind of food that could potentially bring peace on earth. I also have an unhealthy obsession with avocados, but I still think donuts would win the WWE smack-down of my hunger. Not only does the donut have a wonderful American history (which I actually wrote an extra credit paper in college about), but it defines the beautiful balance of simplicity and complexity into one fried dough ring. Let me break this down with some tasty little tidbits!
#1. They’re as American as Apple Pie
No one knows where the exact concept of the modern-day donut came from, but there are some whimsical folktales that have been passed down for generations. In the mid-19th century a Dutch-American ship captain’s mother (Elizabeth Gregory) would make donuts using fried dough, spices, and lemon rind for her son’s crew. She did this in order to prevent scurvy and other not-so-fun diseases. If the dough didn’t cook all the way through, she would put a hazelnut in the middle of the donut. Yes, that is where the “nut” part comes from. Cool, right?!
Now her son unknowingly created the first donut with a hole in the center. One day on a voyage, his crew hit a storm and legend has it that he had to grab the wheel of the ship while he was eating a donut in order to survive the storm. Since he didn’t have enough time to place the donut down, he stuck the dough ball on one of the wheel’s spokes, which created the ring shape that we love today.
Another cool thing or two to know is that donuts were given to homesick American soldiers in WWI and the first “donut machine” was created by a Russian refugee in New York City in 1920. To read more of the history, check out this article by the Smithsonian: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-history-of-the-doughnut-150405177/?no-ist.
#2. Pshhh, Have You Seen the Competition?
Okay I get it other desserts are good too, but I would argue that they’re not good enough to compete. Cake usually looks prettier than it tastes, cookies are flat, ice cream is messy, cupcakes are overpriced tiny cakes, and muffins are the boring version of cupcakes. I would say cinnamon rolls put up a good fight, but even during the recession I saw more Krispy Kreme’s than Cinnabons. Although it pains me to say that, it’s the truth. You held up a good fight Cinnabon.
#3. The Diversity is Unreal
Donut shops are like the United Nations of sweets. Donuts can come in all flavors, shapes, and sizes. Want chocolate with sprinkles? Awesome- traditional, I like it. What about a maple eclair? Ooh fancy, but not too overrated. What about an apple fritter? Yes, those are amazing too! You literally can have any of these plus many many more!
Now there are also donut shops that do unique and gourmet flavors such as maple bacon, Mexican hot chocolate, lemon raspberry, and more. Shout out to Donut Bar (my go-to) for making the largest and most creative selection of donuts I’ve ever seen. The “Big Poppa Tart” is a rectangular donut that actually has a Pop-Tart stuffed inside of it. It was featured on Steve Harvey’s show! If you don’t believe me, look it up.
#4. Donut Shops Can Range from a Chain to a Mom & Pop
I think this alone is amazing to think about. For decades, there have been mom & pop donut shops set up in every American city. Not only are the people that usually run these establishments easy-going and friendly, but they somehow unite the neighborhood together with coffee and sugary dough. Don’t get me wrong I love Krispy Kreme, especially since the one by my house has a late night drive-thru, but the feeling you get when you walk into an individually owned donut shop is amazing.
Also, we’ve all heard of a baker’s dozen, right? Many times if you order a whole dozen at these places they’ll throw an extra donut in for free. No other food place is widely known for doing things like this. I’ve never seen KFC throw in an extra thigh just because. Although, you won’t find me complaining if that becomes a thing.
#5. Homer Simpson, D’oh!
One of the most iconic cartoon characters and TV dads of all time is Homer Simpson. America has fallen in love with the lazy and self-indulgent Simpson for many reasons, but I think his unhealthy love for Duff beer and donuts plays a huge role in his infectious personality. He loves his family, but he might just love his donuts and Duff even more. Can you blame him though?
I hope you enjoyed reading about this horribly unhealthy obsession of mine! Now go reward yourself with a donut… or 5… I won’t judge you. Your trainer might, but I won’t!
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What is your favorite thing about donuts? Comment below!