NATIONAL DOUGHNUT DAY - Friday, June 5, 2020
Whether you spell it doughnut or donut or prefer glazed to creme filled I think we can all agree they are delicious. Not that we need a special day to enjoy this tasty treat, but did you know that the first Friday in June is known as National Doughnut Day? Some donut chains and bakeries will offer free donuts on this day. Its origin is not a marketing campaign dreamed up by your favorite donut chain or corporate America. National Doughnut Day dates to 1938 but its roots precede that date.
How the doughnut became a symbol of comfort and home during wartime and beyond
During the Great War (World War I) The Salvation Army provided various services, not just spiritual support, to U. S. troops stationed in France. These volunteers worked out of huts near the front lines often coming under fire themselves.
"Soon after the U. S. entrance into World War I in 1917, The Salvation Army sent a fact-finding mission to France. The mission concluded that the needs of U. S. enlisted men could be met by canteens/social centers termed "huts" that could serve baked goods, provide writing supplies and stamps, and provide a clothes-mending service. Typically, six staff members per hut would include four female volunteers who could "mother" the boys...Margaret Sheldon wrote of one busy day: "Today I made 22 pies, 300 doughnuts, 700 cups of coffee." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Doughnut_Day
“Despite discovering that serving baked goods would be difficult considering the conditions of the huts and the limited rations, two officers – Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance – began frying donuts in a small pan. These tasty treats boosted morale and won the hearts of many soldiers.” https://salvationarmyflorida.org/2020/05/19/national-donut-day/
These ladies came to be known as “Doughnut Lassies” or “Doughnut Girls”
The original doughnut recipe from the front lines: https://salvationarmyflorida.org/2020/05/19/national-donut-day/
2 large eggs
5 cups flour
2 cups sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 tablespoon salt
1 3/4 cups milk
1 tub lard
Combine all ingredients (except for lard) to make the dough.
Thoroughly knead the dough, roll smooth, and cut into rings that are less than 1/4 inch thick.
Drop the rings into the lard, making sure the fat is hot enough to brown the donuts gradually. Turn the donuts slowly several times.
When browned, remove donuts and allow excess fat to drip off.
Dust with powdered sugar. Let cool and enjoy!
National Doughnut Day established
In 1938, in Chicago, The Salvation Army, providing comfort to those during the Great Depression, held the first doughnut day to honor those who served in WWI. The tradition continued and it became a symbol of the organization.
On June 5, 2020, The Salvation Army will thank the men and women on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic by delivering donuts and hope.
World War II
During World War II the War Department decreed that the American Red Cross would be the only civilian service organization permitted to work with overseas military personnel. One of the services they offered was to set up clubs and canteens for the servicemen. They also had buses, aka clubmobiles, fitted out to go where the servicemen were to provide basic goods, a lounge area, and, of course, serve donuts and coffee. These “Donut Dollies” continued the tradition established in WWI.
Donut Trivia, etc.
For some donut facts, trivia, and what are the most popular flavors visit https://nationaltoday.com/national-donut-day/
The term “Doughboy” became a popular nickname for the United States soldiers during WWI and some say that it originated because of the doughnuts. The term however predates WWI and historians debate its origins. For some history on the origins of the term:
To read more about this topic and the roll these women and other female volunteers took in WWI to reach out and support service men read: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/donut-girls-wwi-helped-fill-soldiers-bellies-and-get-women-vote-180962864/