Happy National Doughnut Day!
Doughnuts: the crack of the pastry world. To say they were a gift straight from God would, well, be a pretty accurate statement of fact. I believe it was Genesis 6:7 (hence the holiday’s date) in which their creation is chronicled.
“And lo, on the 7th day, the Lord crafted the most infallibly delicious food he could perceive. And when he doth question the shape in which to mold this ambrosia, he had but only to look to his own face upon tasting his perfection. ‘Let this divinity be marked in o-shape, for it hath given me an o-face. This cake hath made me bust a nut. A dough-nut.”’
Doughnuts are — quite literally — heaven sent. Frosted, glazed, marbled, crème of jelly filled; they are all absurdly delicious. On taste alone their merits would be well deserving of a holiday, but when you factor in that they allow us to have a delicious sweetened cake, for breakfast, without the slightest shunning from society: it really feels like one holiday isn’t enough. Let us take the time today then to honor and cherish our decadent circular companion, and delve into the story behind the sweetness. The glory beneath the glaze. The fame under the frosting. The… my good lord I am getting so hungry right now.
Doughnuts have been kicking butt for a LONG time
And that’s even if you fancy yourself an “evolutionist” who doesn’t “understand” that God created doughnuts, and dinosaurs, and the Earth, “a few thousand years ago.” An idea so simple that even a child could create it. I mean understand it. The doughnut as we know it today — a delicious deep fried pastry with a hole in the center — is most often accredited to Hansen Gregory; an American ship captain who patented the technique of “dough-holing” (as I imagine they called it on the streets back then) in 1847.
The reasoning behind the decision is oft-argued. Most say it was to help the pastry cook perfectly throughout, as often the middle of the fried dough would be soft and uncooked. Others say he removed the middle of the dough to conserve supplies — or be a cheap a@@$%^e — while still others say he had a dream from “winged angels.” Whichever you believe, there is no doubt his “discovery” was well received and well loved. The same could be said for Gregory himself, until of course he was burned at the stake for being a witch a few years later. Apparently no one knew “sinfully good” was hyperbole. Damn Massachusetts public schooling.
They’re so good, people have gone to war for them
Well, that is to say people have gone to “a” war for them. Sadly no one has started a war for one, although there are rumors that Helen of Troy was just a really awesome Cruller. In the first World War though, over 250 female volunteers from the Salvation Army went to France to support the troops. Although they served up many things — coffee, mail service, clothes mending, several thousand restraining orders to overeager soldiers — the ladies gained fame and notoriety for serving the troops doughnuts. They were an instant hit with the men, and in the brief time they spent on the front lines the women served thousands and thousands of these perfect pastries to the soldiers. Most came back home seeking a respite from the violence and some “sweet delicious holed delights.” Unfortunately those who phrased this desire to their wives exactly like that had to wait for the respite from violence. But good news! You can still eat a doughnut with a black eye.
From World War to World Food
Post 1920 — after Adolph Levitt created the first automated machine to produce these delightful concoctions — the popularity of the doughnut exploded. Being mass produced, cheap, and available (much like your mom? I’ll get back to you on that… something there though definitely) they became the treat of the masses. By 1934 — at the World’s Fair — they were touted as “the food hit of the Century of Progress.” Within the next few decades doughnuts — and a slew of doughnut-like pastries – became commonplace worldwide. Soon you could ask for a “Koeksister,” “Munkki,” “Krapfen,” “Smouteballen,” or a “Navaz Sharif,” and you’d have yourself a doughnut. Also probably a giggle at what sounds like a weird sex act. They were everywhere; men and women enjoying them on almost every street corner. Just like your mom. Sorry, all this imagery IS NOT easy to get through like an adult.
But wait, they eat more than us?
In terms of pure quantity, America –F*@k Yeah — is by far and away the world leader in doughnut destruction. Every year we patriots eat over 10 BILLION doughnuts. 10 billion. Every year we make enough doughnuts for everyone in the world to have like 1.4, and then we just say screw it: we’ll eat them all. Dunkin’ Donuts — by far and away the country’s leader in doughnut production — has over 7,000 stores in the United States. By comparison, there are just shy of 6000 registered hospitals. So next time you get shot in the chest — which I assume for this readership happens a lot — you might be better off by just chucking a couple marble glazed in the wound. The worst news? (as if that weren’t enough.) We actually are second place in terms of per capita doughnut availability and per person consumption. And who has the gall, the sheer force of will and dominance to beat America — AMERICA — in gluttony and consumption? Although I NEVER thought I would type this sentence: it’s Canada. Canada beats us in doughnut consumption. With a population 1/10th of ours, they still have over 3200 doughnut shops, and consume well over 1 billion doughnuts per year.
But we will not be out-gluttoned!
But what we lack in per capita consumption, we more than make up for in per “stupid person” consumption. Both of the doughnut eating records — at least the two recognized by the International Federation of Competitive Eating (we wouldn’t waste your time with more frivolous doughnut eating records) — are held by Americans. Eric Booker ate 49 glazed doughnuts in eight minutes, and Patrick Bertoletti ate a staggering 47 glazed and crème filled doughnuts in 5 minutes. In the time it takes an average person to eat one doughnut, he had almost 4 dozen. More than an average Canadian has in a year. Those driveless hockey folk.
But the crazy don’t stop there! Just ask Luther Vandross
Because when is just pure gluttony enough for America!? Never. We’ve also taken to utilizing the doughnut in other already unhealthy meals. Case in point: the Doughnut Cheeseburger. Also named the “Luther Burger,” legend has it that this burger was invented by Mr. Vandross himself. When food services at a concert ran out of hamburger buns, he grabbed a doughnut from his dressing room, split it in half, and jammed the burger inside it’s new protective shell.
The Luther Burger — or as doctors refer to it, “what keeps my kids in college” — has actually become quite popular in the United States. That is despite the fact — oh who am I kidding, it’s because of the fact — that is absurdly unhealthy. On average the burger is well over 1,000 calories, and that’s normally before the cheese and bacon hits the plate. Which of course it would do, it’s AMERICA.
The healthiest — and simultaneously most bats#$t way to celebrate?
The “Tour De Donut.” Held annually in Illinois, the TDD — as it’s referred to by lazy bloggers at the end of an article — is a 30-mile bike race where riders can trim time off their result by eating as many doughnuts as they can at 2 designated pit stops. Last year’s winner — my new hero, and really Jewish sounding MC name, KC Merckel — finished the race after eating a whopping 22 doughnuts in ten minutes. His adjusted time – and lord knows how they came up with this: 4 minutes and 38 seconds. Meaning that while most riders were on mile 2, he had already finished the race and eaten nearly two dozen doughnuts. Proving that the only thing us Americans know better than physical exercise, is mathematics. Huzzah!
Andrew saluted our shelly chums in Happy World Turtle Day! and gave the raspberry to pop culture with Eight Shows Better than Splash that We Created at Lunch.