A history of Donuts (doughnuts)
It is believed that in 1847, Elizibeth Gregory, a New England ship captain's mother, made a deep-fried dough that used her son's spice cargo of nutmeg, cinnimon, and lemon rind. She made the deep fried cakes for son Hansen and his crew so they could store the pastry on long voyages...and to help ward off scurvy and colds. Mrs. Gregory put hazel nuts or walnuts in the center, where the dough might not cook through, and as a result called them "dough" nuts.
Hansen always took credit for the hole in the donut (often spelled doughnut). Some donut historians think that Hansen was a bit of a cheapskate and was just trying to save on food costs. Others say that he gave the donut its first hole when, in the middle of a terrible storm and in order to get both hands on the ships wheel, he crammed one of his mothers fried sensations onto one of the wooded spokes of the wheel. Yet another tale claims that he decided, after a visit from an angel, that the doughy center of the fried cakes had to go.
Her son Hanson presented "his" creation to the people who apparently sang and danced for days in praise of the best fried cake they had ever tasted. Is the donut heavenly food? 17th century America thought so, but unfortunately Hanson was eventually burnt at the stake for being a witch in the mid-19th century. Today, the town of Clam Cove, Maine has a plaque in honor of Captain Hanson Gregory, the man who invented the hole in the donut.
The first donut machine was invented in 1920, in New York City, by a man named Adolph Levitt, a refugee from czarist Russia. Levitt's donut machine was a huge hit causing donuts to spread like wildfire.
By 1934, at the World's Fair in Chicago, donuts were billed as "the hit food of the Century of Progress". Seeing them made by machines "automatically" somehow made them seem all the more futuristic.
Donuts became beloved. Legend says that dunking donuts first became a trend when actress Mae Murray accidentally dropped a donut in her coffee one day at Lindy's Deli on Broadway. In the 1934 film It Happened One Night newspaperman Clark Gable teaches young runaway heiress Claudette Corbet how to "dunk". In 1937 a popular song proclaimed that you can live on coffee and donuts if "you're in love".
During World War II, Red Cross women, known as Donut Dollies passed out hot donuts to the hard fighting soldiers.
Today, in the United States alone, over 10 billion donuts are made every year.
Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses have been working on their donut recipe for over 100 years and we're happy to say our donuts don't have gooey centres or nuts to conceal them...just lashings of the most delicious raspberry jam or creamy custard! Try our award-winning donuts today.