Doughnut History, Doughnut Experiment

My original plan was to go to Doughnut Plant, buy one each of the seasonal doughnuts and taste test them all!  But I managed to control myself and buy two – one citron yeast, one citron cake.  Shared with three of my friends, our findings were inconclusive.  But we ate doughnuts, so we are all winners.  The cake doughnut was a little dryer but kept the tastes distinct – the lemon glaze lived independently of the cake allowing you to taste both.  The yeast doughnut had a lovely consistency but the lemon flavor permeated the pastry itself, making the lemon experience more intense.  Both delicious.  Both super fresh.

As for the history of the doughnut, apparently it is very New York-centric.  As a proud native New Yorker and lover of doughnuts I am ashamed of this lack of knowledge on my part.  Apparently Anna Joralemon (of the same family as the street in Brooklyn) introduced the doughnut to NYC in 1673.  Seems she was affectionately known as “the Big Doughnut” – she weighed 225 pounds.  I wonder how affectionate she was with regards to said nickname.  As my friend put it, she had fried dough but no Flywheel.  Indeed.  But these were fried cakes, not the circle/hole doughnut we know today.

For that, we have this wonderful quote.  No matter what I read from here forward, in my mind it will always be Captain Gregory who invented the doughnut  in 1847:

Here’s part of the interview with 85 year-old Captain Gregory:

“Now in them days we used to cut the doughnuts into diamond shapes, and also into long strips, bent in half, and then twisted. I don’t think we called them doughnuts then–they was just ‘fried cakes’ and ‘twisters.’

“Well, sir, they used to fry all right around the edges, but when you had the edges done the insides was all raw dough. And the twisters used to sop up all the grease just where they bent, and they were tough on the digestion.”

“Well, I says to myself, ‘Why wouldn’t a space inside solve the difficulty?’ I thought at first I’d take one of the strips and roll it around, then I got an inspiration, a great inspiration. I took the cover off the ship’s tin pepper box, and–I cut into the middle of that doughnut the first hole ever seen by mortal eyes!”

Captain Gregory is my people.  Well done, sir.

Now off to Flywheel!


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