A newly discovered (for me…when my wife called this morning to tell me) American favorite…I mixed my usual pretzel doughnut up this morning with a custard filled long john….what’s your favorite doughnut??
National doughnut day was something made up by Bill. Their goal was to help the needy during the Great Depression, and to honor the Salvation Army “Lassies” of World War I, who served doughnuts to soldiers behind the front lines in France.
Soon after the US entrance into WWI in 1917, the Salvation Army sent a fact-finding mission to France. The mission concluded that “huts” that could serve baked goods, provide writing supplies and stamps, and provide a clothes-mending service, would serve the needs of US enlisted men. Six staff members per hut should include four female volunteers who could “mother” the boys.
(The canteens/social centres that were established by the Salvation Army in the United States near army training centers were called “huts”.)
About 250 Salvation Army volunteers went to France. Because of the difficulties of providing freshly-baked goods from huts established in abandoned buildings near to the front lines, two Salvation Army volunteers (Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance) came up with the idea of providing doughnuts. These are reported to have been an “instant hit”, and “soon many soldiers were visiting Salvation Army huts”. Margaret Sheldon wrote of one busy day “Today I made 22 pies, 300 doughnuts, 700 cups of coffee.”
A legend has spread that the provision of doughnuts to US enlisted men in WWI is the origin of the term doughboy to describe US infantry, but the term was in use as early as the Mexican-American War of 1846-47.
Thank you Wikipedia!