The first Friday in June celebrates the Salvation Army's "Donut Lassies," who distributed doughnuts to American soldiers in France during World War I. Nov. 5 celebrates the doughnut itself, with no more reason than the goodness of the treat and one more excuse to eat it.
Wait – wasn’t National Doughnut Day in June? Doughnut lovers will be happy to know that the celebration occurs TWICE each year, on the first Friday in June and again, on Nov. 5. Some say that the June “holiday” is National Donut Day, while Nov. 5 is National Doughnut Day, but lovers of the sweet, tender circles of gooey dough rejoice either way as the day is celebrated by such exciting events as free treats at Krispy Kreme. It is actually a world-wide holiday, as Australia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Turkey and the Philippines all participate.
The first Friday in June recognizes the Salvation Army’s “Donut Lassies,” who distributed doughnuts to American soldiers in France in World War I. Nov. 5 celebrates the doughnut itself, with no more reason than the goodness of the treat and one more excuse to eat it.
There are several versions of the doughnut’s beginning. One is that it was originated by the Dutch who made “olykoek,” which dubiously translates to “oily cake.” The holed version we love to day theoretically came about in 1847, when the 16-year-old Hanson Gregory claims to have made the prototype of the treat beloved today. Trying to avoid the heartbreak of oily cakes with a raw center, Gregory put a hole in the middle to help them cook more evenly.
However, anthropologist Paul R. Mullins found a reference to making doughnuts in an 1803 English cookbook that included it in an appendix of American recipes. A short story from 1808 described “fire-cakes and dough-nuts,” the first known recorded use of the term. Whatever the origin, in 1933 the World’s Fair in Chicago proclaimed doughnuts to be the “Hit Food of the Century of Progress.”
People may still be asking why, despite how wonderful a doughnut is, the world ended up with two celebration days. In fact, the second National Doughnut Day was made up by a single person, John-Bryan Hopkins, a food writer who runs the Foodimentary site. When the site went live in 2006 there were already about 175 food-related holidays, many, such as June’s National Donut Day, with long-standing traditions. Hopkins freely admits that he just “filled in the rest,” to make sure there was a food holiday on every day of the year.
In case anyone is interested, Sept. 14 is National Cream-Filled Doughnut Day, and June 8 is National Jelly Donut Day.