Who knew eating a doughnut on Doughnut Day was extremely patriotic? Well, you do now.
But before you run out to your nearest Krispy Kreme to grab a dozen -- or two -- glazed originals, you might want to instead turn to somewhere a little closer to home for your doughnut fix. Specifically, your home. Even more specifically, your kitchen, where you can whip up this 100-year-old recipe that originated during World War I.
And more than just eating your history, you can learn more about the creation of National Doughnut Day, which was established in 1938 to honor the “Doughnut Lassies,” Salvation Army volunteers who risked their lives and served the American Expeditionary Forces in France by providing, among other support, hot and fresh doughnuts. Two “Lassies” or “Salvationists” pioneered the doughnut movement, though various humanitarian groups adopted the trend.
“What doughnut day is about is about this sense of volunteerism,” Lora Vogt, curator of education at the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Mo., told Fox News in an interview.
"It was to create that space of healing and bring a little bit of home with food – that was a really important part of being able to heal."
“Originally, the Salvationists thought to do cakes or pies,” Vogt said, saying their position was to provide comfort and help the emotional and mental health of troops.
“Part of what they wanted to do was provide food, but resources available made this really difficult.”
Until two women thought of doughnuts in 1918 -- a relatively low-maintenance treat that could be made quickly using whatever was available to them.
“This is how many Americans became introduced to the doughnut,” Vogt said. “This was the beginning of America’s love of the doughnut.” Though she did say some historians say a variation of the doughnut was introduced around the Civil War.
Vogt said that when U.S. service members returned, the demand for doughnuts was so high, one New York doughnut shop could not keep up.
Though doughnut shops did not become a staple of America until mid-century, the love of the fried dough confection was still there.
“The original doughnut wasn’t at sweet as we have it today, and it wasn’t glazed as it was made to conserve time and energy,” she said, but it was just as comforting as it is today.
“It was to create that space of healing and bring a little bit of home with food -- that was a really important part of being able to heal.”
Check out the historic recipe below. And if you really want to update your turn-of-the-century doughnut knowledge, the World War History Museum is hosting a lecture online led by Vogt about the celebrated day Friday, 10:30 a.m. CT.
The Doughnut Recipe
5 cups flour
2 cups sugar
5 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (a.k.a 1 “saltspoon”)
1 3/4 cups milk
1 tub lard
- Combine all ingredients (except for lard) to make dough.
- Thoroughly knead dough, roll smooth, and cut into rings that are less than 1/4-inch thick.*
- Drop the rings into the hot lard, making sure the fat is hot enough to brown the doughnuts gradually. Turn the doughnuts slowly several times.
- When browned, remove doughnuts and allow excess fat to drop off.
- Dust with powdered sugar. Let cool and enjoy.
- *When finding items to cut out doughnut circles, be creative. Salvation Army Doughnut Girls used whatever they could find, from baking powder cans to coffee percolator tubes.