Friday July 9, 2021’s Smile of the Day: The Doughnut
On this Day:
In 1872, a doughnut cutter patent was granted to John Blondel, Thomaston, Maine. However, claiming this as the world’s first doughnut would glaze over the real history here…
A doughnut or donut is a type of leavened fried dough. It is popular in many countries and is prepared in various forms as a sweet snack that can be homemade or purchased in bakeries, supermarkets, food stalls, and franchised specialty vendors. ‘Doughnut’ is the traditional spelling, whilst ‘donut’ is the simplified version. Both terms are often used interchangeably in the English-language.
Doughnuts are usually deep fried from a flour dough, but other types of batters can also be used. Various toppings and flavorings are used for different types, such as sugar, chocolate, or maple glazing. Doughnuts may also include water, leavening, eggs, milk, sugar, oil, shortening, and natural or artificial flavors.
The two most common types are the ring doughnut and the filled doughnut, which is injected with fruit preserves, cream, custard, or other sweet fillings. Alternatively, small pieces of dough are sometimes cooked as doughnut holes. Once fried, doughnuts may be glazed with a sugar icing, spread with icing or chocolate on top, or topped with powdered sugar, cinnamon, sprinkles or fruit. Other shapes include rings, balls, flattened spheres, twists, and other forms. Doughnut varieties are also divided into cake (including the old-fashioned) and yeast-risen type doughnuts. Doughnuts are often accompanied by coffee, but can also be paired with milk. They are sold at doughnut shops, convenience stores, petrol/gas stations, cafes or fast food restaurants.
The earliest origins to the modern doughnuts are generally traced back to the olykoek (“oil(y) cake”) Dutch settlers brought with them to early New York (or New Amsterdam). These doughnuts closely resembled later ones but did not yet have their current ring shape. One of the earliest mentions of “doughnut” was in Washington Irving’s 1809 book A History of New York, from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty:
“Sometimes the table was graced with immense apple-pies, or saucers full of preserved peaches and pears; but it was always sure to boast of an enormous dish of balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog’s fat, and called dough-nuts, or oly koeks: a delicious kind of cake, at present scarce known in this city, excepting in genuine Dutch families.
The name oly koeks was almost certainly related to the oliekoek: a Dutch delicacy of “sweetened cake fried in fat.”
According to anthropologist Paul R. Mullins, the first cookbook mentioning doughnuts was an 1803 English volume which included doughnuts in an appendix of American recipes. He also traces its origins to the oliekoek that arrived in America with the Dutch settlers in the early 18th century. By the mid-19th century, the doughnut looked and tasted like today’s doughnut, and was viewed as a thoroughly American food.
Hanson Gregory, an American, claimed to have invented the ring-shaped doughnut in 1847 aboard a lime-trading ship when he was 16 years old. Gregory was dissatisfied with the greasiness of doughnuts twisted into various shapes and with the raw center of regular doughnuts. He claimed to have punched a hole in the center of dough with the ship’s tin pepper box, and to have later taught the technique to his mother. Smithsonian Magazine states that his mother, Elizabeth Gregory, “made a wicked deep-fried dough that cleverly used her son’s spice cargo of nutmeg and cinnamon, along with lemon rind,” and “put hazelnuts or walnuts in the center, where the dough might not cook through”, and called the food ‘doughnuts’.
Another theory on their origin came to light in 2013, when a recipe for “dow nuts” was found in a book of recipes and domestic tips written around 1800 by the wife of Baron Thomas Dimsdale, the recipe being given to the dowager Baroness by an acquaintance who transcribed for her the cooking instructions for a “dow nut”.
Yeast doughnuts and cake doughnuts contain most of the same ingredients, however, their structural differences arise from the type of flour and leavening agent used. In cake doughnuts, cake flour is used, and the resulting doughnut is denser because cake flour has a relatively low gluten content of about 7 to 8 percent. In yeast doughnuts, a flour with a higher protein content of about 9 to 12 percent is used, resulting in a doughnut that is lighter and more airy. In addition, yeast doughnuts utilize yeast as a leavening agent. Specifically, “Yeast cells are thoroughly distributed throughout the dough and begin to feed on the sugar that is present … carbon dioxide gas is generated, which raises the dough, making it light and porous.” Whereas this process is biological, the leavening process in cake doughnuts is chemical. In cake doughnuts, the most common leavening agent is baking powder. Baking powder is essentially “baking soda with acid added. This neutralizes the base and produces more CO2 according to the following equation: NaHCO3 + H+ → Na+ + H2O + CO2.”
Per capita, Canadians consume the most doughnuts, and Canada has the most doughnut stores per capita. Tim Hortons is the most popular Canadian doughnut and coffee franchise, and one of the most successful quick service restaurants in the country. In the Second City Television sketch comedy “The Great White North” featuring the fictional stereotypically Canadian brothers Bob and Doug MacKenzie and in their film Strange Brew, doughnuts play a role in the duo’s comedy.
In movies, TV shows, and video games, police officers are depicted as enjoying doughnuts during their coffee break. This cliché has been parodied in the film Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol, where Officer Zed is instructing new recruits how to “properly” consume their doughnuts with coffee. It is also parodied in the television series Twin Peaks, where the police station is always in large supply. In the video game Neuromancer, there is a Donut World shop, where only policemen are allowed. During a citywide “lockdown” after the Boston Marathon bombing, a handful of selected Dunkin’ Donuts locations were ordered to remain open to serve police and first responders despite the closing of the vast majority of city businesses.
Cops & Doughnuts, a doughnut shop in Clare, Michigan, is notable for being owned and operated by current and former members of the city’s police precinct.
In southern Louisiana, a popular variety of the doughnut is the beignet, a fried, square doughnut served traditionally with powdered sugar. Perhaps the most famous purveyor of beignets is New Orleans restaurant Cafe Du Monde.
Doughnuts are popular in various forms all over the world (per Wikipedia).
First, a Story:
Q: Why do cops love an icy winter morning?
A: So they can do donuts in the parking lot
Second, a Song:
Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives (June 14, 1909 – April 14, 1995) was an American singer, musician, actor, and author.
Ives began his career as an itinerant singer and guitarist, eventually launching his own radio show, The Wayfaring Stranger, which popularized traditional folk songs. In 1942, he appeared in Irving Berlin’s This Is the Army and became a major star of CBS Radio. In the 1960s, he successfully crossed over into country music, recording hits such as “A Little Bitty Tear” and “Funny Way of Laughin'”. Ives was also a popular film actor through the late 1940s and ’50s. His film roles included parts in So Dear to My Heart (1948) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), as well as the role of Rufus Hannassey in The Big Country (1958), for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Ives is often associated with the Christmas season. He did voice-over work as Sam the Snowman, narrator of the classic 1964 Christmas television special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Ives also worked on the special’s soundtrack, including the songs “A Holly Jolly Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, both of which continue to chart annually on the Billboard holiday charts into the 2020s.
Ives was born in Hunt City, an unincorporated town in Jasper County, Illinois, near Newton, to Levi “Frank” Ives (1880–1947) and Cordelia “Dellie” (née White; 1882–1954). He had six siblings: Audry, Artie, Clarence, Argola, Lillburn, and Norma. His father was first a farmer and then a contractor for the county and others. One day, Ives was singing in the garden with his mother, and his uncle overheard them. He invited his nephew to sing at the old soldiers’ reunion in Hunt City. The boy performed a rendition of the folk ballad “Barbara Allen” and impressed both his uncle and the audience.
From 1927 to 1929, Ives attended Eastern Illinois State Teachers College (now Eastern Illinois University) in Charleston, Illinois, where he played football. During his junior year, he was sitting in English class, listening to a lecture on Beowulf, when he suddenly realized he was wasting his time. As he walked out of the door, the professor made a snide remark and Ives slammed the door behind him, shattering the window in the door. Sixty years later, the school named a building after its most famous dropout. Ives was a member of the Charleston Chapter of The Order of Demolay and is listed in the DeMolay Hall of Fame. He was also initiated into Scottish Rite Freemasonry in 1927. He was elevated to the 33rd and highest degree in 1987, and was later elected to the Grand Cross.
In the 1960s, Ives began singing country music with greater frequency. In 1962, he released three songs that were popular with both country music and popular music fans: “A Little Bitty Tear”, “Call Me Mister In-Between”, and ” Funny Way of Laughin‘“.
Ives had several film and television roles during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1962, he starred with Rock Hudson in The Spiral Road, which was based on a novel of the same name by Jan de Hartog. He also starred in Disney’s Summer Magic with Hayley Mills, Dorothy McGuire, and Eddie Hodges, and a score by Robert and Richard Sherman. In 1964, he played the genie in the movie The Brass Bottle with Tony Randall and Barbara Eden.
Ives’ “A Holly Jolly Christmas” and “Silver and Gold” became Christmas standards after they were first featured in the 1964 NBC-TV presentation of the Rankin/Bass stop-motion animated family special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Johnny Marks had composed the title song (originally an enormous hit for singing cowboy Gene Autry) in 1949, and producers Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Jules Bass retained him to compose the TV special’s soundtrack. Ives voiced Sam the Snowman, the banjo-playing “host” and narrator of the story, explaining how Rudolph used his “nonconformity”, as Sam refers to it, to save Christmas from being cancelled due to an impassable blizzard. The following year, Ives rerecorded all three of the Johnny Marks hits which he had sung in the TV special, but with a more “pop” feel. He released them all as singles for the 1965 holiday season, capitalizing on their previous success.
Ives performed in other television productions, including Pinocchio and Roots.
He starred in short-lived O.K. Crackerby! (1965–66), a comedy which costarred Hal Buckley, Joel Davison, and Brooke Adams, about the presumed richest man in the world, replaced Walter Brennan’s somewhat similar The Tycoon on the ABC schedule from the preceding year.
He played Walter Nichols in the drama The Bold Ones: The Lawyers (1969–72), a segment of the wheel series The Bold Ones.
Ives occasionally starred in macabre-themed productions. In 1970, for example, he played the title role in The Man Who Wanted to Live Forever, in which his character attempts to harvest human organs from unwilling donors. In 1972, he appeared as old man Doubleday in the episode “The Other Way Out” of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, in which his character seeks a gruesome revenge for the murder of his granddaughter.
In honor of Ives’ influence on American vocal music, on October 25, 1975, he was awarded the University of Pennsylvania Glee Club Award of Merit. This award, initiated in 1964, was “established to bring a declaration of appreciation to an individual each year who has made a significant contribution to the world of music and helped to create a climate in which our talents may find valid expression.”
When America Sings opened at Disneyland in 1974, Ives voiced the main host, Sam Eagle, an Audio-Animatronic.
Ives lent his name and image to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s “This Land Is Your Land – Keep It Clean” campaign in the 1970s. He was portrayed with the program’s fictional spokesman, Johnny Horizon.
Burl Ives was seen regularly in television commercials for Luzianne tea for several years during the 1970s and 1980s, when he was the company’s commercial spokesman.
In 1982 he played Carruthers, a dog trainer, in Samuel Fuller’s controversial and critically acclaimed film White Dog.
In 1989, Ives officially announced his retirement from show business on his 80th birthday. However, he continued to do occasional benefit concert performances on his own accord until 1993 (per Wikipedia).
Here is Burl Ives performing The Donut Song. I am sorry but I could not locate a live version of Burl singing this song. I hope you enjoy it!
Thought for the Day:
“Indeed, it is a proven mathematical theorem that a doughnut is topologically distinct from a sphere.” – Simon Singh
Have a great day!
Dave & Colleen
© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky