The doughnut has existedsince the beginning oftime. So long thosearchaeologists continue tounearth fossilized bits ofwhat look like doughnutsin the middens ofprehistoric NativeAmerican settlements.The doughnut, as weknow and love,supposedly came toManhatten (then still NewAmsterdam) under theDutch name of olykoeks--"oily cakes."In early colonial times, US. Dutch immigrants discovered fried cake. So, the story goes, acow kicked a pot full of boiling oil over onto some pastry mix, thus inventing the goldenbrown delight. Apparently, they didnt share this great discovery with their homelandand the fried cakes became a staple in the harsh conditions that existed in the colony.The Beginning ofDoughnut
Around 1847, Elizibeth Gregory, a New England ship captains mother, made a deep-fried dough that used her sons spice cargo of nutmeg, cinnamon, and lemon rind. Shemade the deep fried cakes for son Hansen and his crew so they could store the pastryon long voyages...and to help ward off scurvy and colds. Mrs. Gregory put hazel nuts orwalnuts in the center, where the dough might not cook through, and called themdoughnuts.Hansen always took credit for the hole in the doughnut. Some doughnut historians thinkthat Hansen was a bit of a cheapskate and was just trying to save on food costs. Otherssay that he gave the doughnut its first hole when, in the middle of a terrible storm andin order to get both hands on the ships wheel, he crammed one of his mother’s friedsensations onto one of the wooded spokes of the wheel. Yet another tale claims that hedecided, after a visit from an angel, that the doughy center of the fried cakes had to go.Her son Hanson presented "his" creation to the people who apparently sang and dancedfor days in praise of the best fried cake they had ever tasted. Is the doughnut heavenlyfood? 17th century America thought so, but unfortunately Hanson was eventually burntat the stake for being a witch in the mid-19th century. Today, the town of Clam Cove,Maine has a plaque in honor of Captain Hanson Gregory, the man who invented thehole in the donut.In the Middle of World War I, millions of homesick American "doughboys" were servedup countless doughnuts by women volunteers, trying to give the soldiers a taste ofhome.The first doughnut machine was invented in 1920, in New York City, by a man namedAdolph Levitt, a refugee from czarist Russia. Levitts doughnut machine was a huge hitcausing doughnuts to spread like wildfire.By 1934, at the Worlds Fair in Chicago, doughnuts were billed as "the hit food of theCentury of Progress". Seeing them made by machines "automatically" somehow madethem seem all the more futuristic.Doughnuts became beloved. Legend says that dunking donuts first became a trendwhen actress Mae Murray accidentally dropped a donut in her coffee one day at LindysDeli on Broadway. In the 1934 film It Happened One Night newspaperman Clark Gable
teaches young runaway heiress Claudette Corbet how to "dunk". In 1937 a popular songproclaimed that you can live on coffee and doughnuts if "youre in love".