Today (June 3rd) is National Doughnut Day, and while some of us might question why we need an actual day for doughnuts, some people take this holiday pretty seriously.
There’s even an ongoing controversy about how the word doughnut should be spelled — just ask The Huffington Post (“donuts” anyone?)
And, the truth is, there’s some pretty important history behind this seemingly silly celebration. The original Doughnut Day was created by the Salvation Army in 1938 with very honorable intent.
National Doughnut Day started in 1938 as a fund raiser for Chicago’s The Salvation Army. Their goal was to help those in need during the Great Depression, and to honor The Salvation Army “Lassies” of World War I, who served doughnuts to soldiers.
Because of the difficulties of providing freshly baked goods from huts established in abandoned buildings near to the front lines, the 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 The Salvation Army huts”. Margaret Sheldon wrote of one busy day: “Today I made 22 pies, 300 doughnuts, 700 cups of coffee.”
Soon, the women who did this work became known by the servicemen as “Doughnut Girls.”
This is, however, not the origin of the term “doughboy” — which was already in use during the Mexican-American war in 1846. You can read more about the fascinating history of Doughnut Day here.
Although Doughnut Day has morphed into a much less meaningful holiday for most Americans, it continues to serve as a hidden reminder of the good that people are capable of in times of intense struggle. That’s certainly worth celebrating.
So, if you would like to partake in Doughnut Day with your kids this year, here are 5 semi-healthy recipes that you can make at home with (mostly) common ingredients. We’ve even included a couple of gluten-free and vegan options.
– Baked Blueberry Doughnuts from Weelicious
– Gluten-Free Brioche Doughnuts from A Baking Life (these look phenomenal!)
– Gluten-Free, Vegan Healthy Pumpkin Donuts from Tessa the Domestic Diva
– Coconut and Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread Donuts from Nutritionist in the Kitch
– Whole Grain Strawberry Donuts from EatGood4Life
Top Image: Salvation Army volunteers traveled overseas to set up service huts located in abandoned buildings near the front lines where they could serve baked goods.