Are you a member of the massive worldwide fan-group of the deliciousness that doughnuts offer? Have you ever chosen a doughnut over pizza, or over a chocolate cake? Have you ever been a part of a discussion over the correct spelling or over any other fact about it? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, and you can’t get enough of this simple, yet amazing ring of fried dough, then grab one and go nuts reading a little bit about its origins and all the big adventures it has lived through.
The Beginning of the Journey
It looks like the doughnut doesn’t have a definitive history when it comes to its origin, but rather it’s a product of many cultures influencing each other with their own practices of frying some type of dough and shaping it differently.
Nevertheless, when it comes to the iconic ring shape of the donut, with the hole in the middle, one theory is that it started from something that the Dutch called olykoeks, which translates to “oil cakes”. Because the cakes wouldn’t cook in the centre as fast as they would on the outside, the Dutch would stuff them with different fillings, like fruits or nuts. When the Dutch began settling in the United States, these oil cakes were slowly influenced by other cultures and the doughnut, in all its glory, was born.
Even though many people think that donuts have a hole in the middle simply because it’s convenient for holding, the real reason for it is that the ring shape allowed for the donut to be cooked more evenly, because the centre of the dough couldn’t fully cook.
The first recorded mention of the doughnut was Washington Irving and described them as in his book from 1809, A History of New York, from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty, in which he described them as”balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog’s fat, and called doughnuts, or olykoeks.”
Big or Small, Doughnuts Are for All
When you think about doughnuts, you probably have a size that you imagine. And whether it’s a mini donut or a huge one – you are right, that’s the right size. While some of us can eat a lot of mini donuts or a lot of normal or full-sized ones, and others prefer to get a delicious donut cake or two and it all by themselves or share it with their loved ones, there are people who are setting Guinness World Records in all things doughnuts. For instance, the largest doughnut ever made in the world was created from more than 90,000 doughnuts, it measured 6 metres and it weighed 3.5 tonnes.
There are also several world records for most doughnuts eaten in shortest times, like the record in eating 10 sugar-frosted jam doughnuts in 3 minutes, without licking the lips, held by Leah Shutkever from Birmingham, or eating the most powdered doughnuts in three minutes, held by Kevin “L.A. Beast Strahler from the USA. Some of the other world records people have set around the world are:
- Largest filled doughnut
- Largest doughnut wall
- Tallest stack of doughnuts
- Largest box of doughnuts
- Longest line of doughnuts
- Fastest time to eat a doughnut
- Most people taking a bite of a mini doughnut
- Fastest time to eat different types of doughnuts (mini, full-sized, jam-filled…)
The Best Supporting Actor Goes To…
We all know about the trope about how “cops love donuts” from US films and series, and there is a good explanation for it. Namely, doughnuts shops were the only places that were opened in the middle of the night, so police officers who were working at night could only buy doughnuts. However, doughnuts don’t only play roles in crime films and series.
Probably the first appearance of a donut in a film was in the 1914’s Charli Chaplin film named Dough & Dynamite. Since then, doughnuts have appeared in a lot of series, including Twin Peaks, as well as a huge list of films, including It Happened One Hight (1934), The French Connection (1971), Animal House (1973), Earth Girls are Easy (1988), Point Break, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of The Ooze (1991), Wayne’s World (1992), Mars Attacks (1996), Dodgeball (2004), The Simpsons Movie (2007), Iron Man 2 (2010), A Star is Born (2018), and many more.
While the United States have several days to celebrate them, on June 4th, in Australia in 2020, donuts became a symbol of hope, when, as it turned out, many people in Melbourne have been eating doughnuts to celebrate that there were no new cases or deaths of Covid 19. This day was dubbed a “donut day”, in reference to the “zero” for zero new coronavirus cases.