Hidden Histories: May

Written by Charlotte Allen

Welcome back to another edition of our Hidden Histories series! This week, we delve into the history of the doughnut, a sweet treat which is sold in stores across the world.

The doughnut (or donut) traditionally comes into two forms- the ring doughnut and the filled doughnut. According to Paul Mullins, the first mention of the doughnut in an English cookbook was in 1803, but the history of this dessert can also be traced back to Dutch settlers.

Around the world, doughnuts come in varying forms. In Indonesia, the donat kentang is a potato doughnut which is coated in icing sugar. In Germany, doughnuts are sometimes called ‘Berliner’ and don’t have a typical ring shape, but instead are solid and usually filled with jam. In Spain, one type of doughnut is called a Rosquilla and is made of fermented dough then fried or baked in an oven. Another popular, non-spherical type of doughnut is called a churro, which is typically piped into long strips and then coated in sugar.

World Doughnut Day is typically celebrated on the first Friday of June each year and was originally started by the Salvation Army to those of their members who served doughnuts to soldiers during the First World War. Some of their members set up tents to provide fresh baked goods to the service people and they became very popular!

According to Wikipedia, “in the US fresh doughnuts are typically packaged in generic pink boxes. This phenomenon can be attributed to Ted Ngoy and Ning Yen, refugees of the Cambodian genocide who transformed the local doughnut shop industry… Due to the locality of Hollywood, the pink boxes frequently appeared as film and television props and were transmitted into popular culture”

"Between the optimist and the pessimist, the difference is droll. The optimist sees the doughnut; the pessimist the hole!"

— Oscar Wilde
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