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Doughnut Madness
by Mel June 1st 2010, 05:31 AM

Article featured in Avatar - Volume 3, Issue 11 (May 2010).


Doughnut Madness
By Cheyenne (Desert)

With Doughnut Week coming up in May, you may be wondering where this delicious, sweet food came from. The exact origins of the doughnut are shadowy, but there are many different theories and stories as to where it might have come from.

In prehistoric Native American settlements, archaeologists have unearthed bits of what look like donuts!. Donuts first arrived in Manhattan, then known as New Amsterdam, under the Dutch name ‘olykoeks’, or oily cakes. The Dutch immigrants are said to have discovered the doughnut when a cow kicked over a pot of boiling oil onto pastry mix, creating this delicious dessert! They did not share this new-found delight with their homeland, but it became a culinary staple during harsh times.

In 1847, a woman named Elizabeth Gregory, a New England ship captain’s mother, created a deep-fried dough that used lemon rind, nutmeg and cinnamon, from her son's cargo hold. The resulting cakes were given to her son, Hansen, and his crew since they would not spoil and would help to prevent scurvy with the addition of lemon. Sometimes Gregory would put hazelnuts or walnuts in the center of the cake, where the dough didn’t fully cook through. Although Hansen always took full credit for the hole in the middle of the doughnut, there are many theories as to how it actually came about. Some say that he was just stingy and wanted to save on food costs, but there are still others who have a slightly more heroic view of the story. They say that he jammed one of the doughy desserts onto the spokes of the ship’s wheel during a storm to stop it turning. Another, slightly more religious claim states that after a visit from an angel he decided that the middle of the doughnut had to go. The reasons for this are unknown but most chalk it up to just that—a dream.

Today there are many different varieties of donuts, from the traditional ring-shaped ones to the ever-popular Timbit. The fast food chains Dunkin’ Donuts and Tim Hortons are huge across the United States and Canada, and their main products are donuts. Nowadays, many people make donuts a prime breakfast food. People also have devised many games to play with these sweet treats, such as stringing them up and trying to eat them without using their hands. Fun but messy!

Whether you play with them or just enjoy them as a morning snack, pretty much everyone can agree that they are a delicious and fun treat anytime of day!
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