In honor of yesterday (National Donut Day), I got hungry. Rather than set a new land-speed record for driving to the nearest donut provider, I decided to consult My Friend the Internet and see what I could learn.
Turns out there are a lot of donut facts. A LOT.
So many that it will take today and tomorrow to share some of my faves with you. (Notice I did not say “to share them all” with you because I’m not even going to attempt that.)
Fasten your seatbelt and loosen your regular belt.
More than 10 billion donuts are made each year in the United States. I am personally responsible for eating half of them.
Doughnuts were probably introduced to the US by the Dutch who called them olykoeks, or “oil cakes” (let’s just agree that “donut” is more marketable). Olykoeks were balls of cakey batter fried in pork fat. The center didn’t cook as fast as the outside, so the glop was replaced with fruit or nuts.
That might be the origin of the name doughnuts. Or it might not.
In 1847 Hansen Gregory, an American ship captain, invented the donut hole. Whether he did so because he needed both hands to steer, or because he didn’t like the consistency of the dough in the middle (and punched it out), or because was challenged to find a new use for the pepper box, or because the angels told him to is a question we will leave for other scholars.
In 1920, Adolph Levitt (a Russian-born immigrant) invented the first automated donut machine. Guess what he called it? The “Wonderful Almost Human Automatic Donut Machine”. There are a lot of reasons to like Mr. Levitt.
Canada has more donut shops (per capita) than any other country. This is probably because moose like donuts.
In the US, Boston has the most donut shops (per capita).
Economists have long known that the size of the hole in a donut correlates with the economy (the worse the economy, the bigger the hole). No word on which donut they’re measuring or why they bother, because duh.