History of the Donut

History of the Doughnut
The birth of the modern donut remains heavily contested. Most countries and cultures have a variation of a fried dough treat. Although we cannot tie the doughnut to one person or event in history, there are a few notable doughnuts throughout the years.
The Dutch Doughnut
In the mid-19th century, writings show the Dutch were making “olykoeks,” or oil cakes. These early style donuts were a ball of cake dropped into hot pork fat until the outside reached a golden brown color. These cakes were often stuffed with fruits or figs because the center of the cake would not cook as quickly as the outside. The undercooked centers would be hollowed out and filled.
During migration, early Dutch migrants brought these oil cakes to the US where they morphed into the modern donut.
The Famous “O” Shape
In 1947, Hansen Gregory created the modern doughnut shape and form. Until then, people most often ate the outside edges of the doughnut, leaving the gooey, undercooked center for the animals. Gregory, and ship captain in America, found another way. Gregory simply punched a hole in the dough ball, which increased the amount of dough surface touching the hot oil, allowing the complete remaining dough ball to cook completely.
Many folk tales of Gregory’s perfection of the doughnut have arisen of the decades. One such lore involves him stabbing the doughnut on a ships wheel so he could steer with both hands. Another such tale claims angels showed him how to create perfection during a rum induced dream. We will probably never know the true origin of the ingenious idea, but we do know the credit lies with Hansen Gregory.
Origin of the name “Doughnut”
Finding the true origin of the name Doughnut is also highly contested. It is claimed that it started because of the nuts that used to fill the dough balls of the past. Other sources claim it comes from “Dough Knots,” a shape often used by the Dutch to when making their olykoeks.
Doughnut’s first literary appearance is in 1809’s A History of New York by Washington Irving. With time, slang and cultural speak had shortened the word to donut. Both donut and doughnut are now accepted words in modern English.