History of the Donut

Bad, bad donut
Never was there a food so designed to tempt the taste buds via visual stimulation - pink ones, chocolate ones, jam ones, cream-filled ones, custard filled, cinnamon flavoured...zebra striped ones with coloured sprinkles on the top and coated in sugar. Yessirreee..doughnuts are a decadent entity, full of vile things like sugar, salt and fat..and yet, so delicious while your eating them, though they might sit in your stomach like a bag of rocks when you're done.

Where did they come from, this evil incarnate that is so very popular in the Western world? Some say they have been around since the beginning of time and the fossilized remains can be found in the prehistoric ruins of Southwestern America.  Could there have been a very early Donut King civilization that was wiped out by a meteorite? Hmmm...

Leaving that intriguing theory aside, reports vary and no-one is entirely sure whether they should be spelt donuts or doughnuts but the general consensus seems to be that they are a true American invention with Dutch origins. In the 19th century Dutch settlers in the US popularised a kind of sweet cake cooked in fat, called an olykoek and in 1847, an American, Hansen Gregory laid claim to punching a hole in the middle because he objected to the soggy centre. Whatever the true origins, the round, delicious donut has been around since the very early 1800's, when it began appear in stories and contemporary records.

By WWI donuts had ingratiated themselves as a national favourite in the US and in the following decades they began to be mass produced to satisfy the country's  growing appetite for them. In the 40s and 50s when the great tide of post-war consumerism and fast food swept over America, donut chains began to spring up - big names like Dunkin' Donuts, Krispy Kreme and Randy's Donuts (now defunct) populated the urbanscape. Donuts caught on internationally and as the decades wore on some of these chains spread to other countries. The donut was now officially everywhere, making resistance futile...besides, they're just so darn good with coffee...

A quintessentially American site. 1953 donut joint.

In Australia we have our own home grown Donut King chain and our most popular line in donuts is a hot jam filled, heavily sugar-coated version known simply as The Jam Donut.