By Jason the 200 lb. Cowboy

June 3rd is National Donut Day! What first began in 1938 as a fundraiser for the Salvation Army, is now celebrated on the first Friday of June every year to celebrate more than just donuts. The holiday was created to honor female volunteers who were behind the front lines in World War I serving donuts to soldiers.

As the story goes, soon after the United States entered into World War I in 1917, the Salvation Army sent a fact-finding mission to France. They concluded that the needs of American enlisted men could be met by canteens/social centers termed “huts” that could serve baked goods, provide writing supplies and stamps, and provide a clothes-mending service.

About 250 Salvation Army volunteers went to France. Because of the difficulties of providing freshly baked goods from huts established in abandoned buildings near to the front lines, the two Salvation Army volunteers (Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance) came up with the idea of providing doughnuts.

These are reported to have been an “instant hit”, and “soon many soldiers were visiting The Salvation Army huts”. Margaret Sheldon wrote of one busy day: “Today I made 22 pies, 300 doughnuts, 700 cups of coffee.” Soon, the women who did this work became known by the servicemen as “Doughnut Dollies.”

There are many places to go and snag a free donut!

  • Dunkin’ Donuts: They are giving out a free donut of your choice with the purchase of any beverage.
  • Krispy Kreme: Celebrate National Donut Day by getting a free doughnut of your choice from any Krispy Kreme location in the U.S. or Canada.
  • Donut Bar + Coffee: The Soutfield based company is offering for every 6 donuts purchased, you get ONE FREE! { open at 6am }
  • Tim Horton’s: No freebies this year, but Tim Hortons is offering aNational Donut Day coupon good for a half-dozen donuts at the special price of $2.99, valid through July 3.

Fun Facts about donuts.

  • The donut – or doughnut – as we know it today, supposedly came to Manhattan under the Dutch name of olykoeks, meaning oily cakes.
  • “Doughnut” is the more traditional spelling, although its shortened form, “donut,” is also acceptable.
  • They may have been created by mistake! One story reportedly tells of a cow who kicked over a pot of oil into a mixture of pasty.
  • The first recorded use of the word “donut” is found in the 1900 story “Peck’s Bad Boy and His Pa” by George W. Peck. 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.
  • Over 10-billion doughnuts are made in the U.S. each year.
  • A “cruller” is a fried pastry that traditionally looked like “small, braided torpedo.” It was considered a staple of the New England diet since the pilgrims. Aunt Em in “The Wizard of Oz” offers crullers to Hunk, Hickory, and Zeke after scolding them for being useless farmhands.
  • The first doughnut machine was invented in New York during 1920 by a man named Adolph Levitt, a refugee from Czarist Russia. Levitt’s doughnut machine was a huge hit causing doughnuts to spread like wildfire. He called it the “Wonderful Almost Human Automatic Donut Machine.”
  • To ‘dunk your doughnut’ was allegedly introduced as a trend after actress Mae Murray accidently dropped one in her coffee.
  • The largest doughnut ever made was an American-style jelly doughnut. It weighed 1.7 tons, was 16ft wide and 16inches high. It was made in Utica, New York, USA on January 21, 1993.
  • The record for doughnut eating is held by John Haight, who ate 29 doughnuts in just over six minutes in 1981. Mmmmm!
  • To go from a size 6 to a size 14 in just three-months to portray “Bridget Jones,” actress Renee Zellweger said she ate 20 doughnuts a day.
  • Some unique doughnut flavors/names include Wasabi Cheese, Champagne, Poi (a common Hawaiian starch paste from the taro root), Southern Spice (made with Southern spices, green chilies, and thyme), Rosemary Olive Oil, Bubble Gum, Chicken & Waffle, and Psycho Psushi.

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