Skip to main content

(NEXSTAR) – People go crazy for donuts, especially on National Donut Day.

First celebrated in 1938, National Donut Day was organized by the Salvation Army to celebrate the volunteers who traveled overseas during World War I to provide support to troops, sometimes frying donuts on the front lines. These “Donut Lassies,” as they were called, helped popularize the treat among returning GIs, according to the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army held the first National Donut Day in 1938, to honor the contributions of volunteers who provided support — and donuts — to soldiers during World War I. (United States Salvation Army)

Today, National Donut Day is celebrated annually on the first Friday in June (and also, somewhat oddly, in early November). Despite all the empty calories, there’s also a lot to celebrate: the donut has a long and interesting history in the United States.

Curious to know why donut boxes in movies are always pink? Or how did they come to be associated with the police? Here are a dozen things you might not know about one of America’s favorite candy bars.

  • Matt Groening, the creator of “The Simpsons,” once revealed to Entertainment Weekly that Homer’s snack of choice was a donut because Groening’s own father, also named Homer, was a huge fan. “Homer was born with my goal to both amuse my real dad, Homer, and annoy him a bit,” Groening said in the 2010 interview. Groening admitted that Homer Simpson shared no other attributes. with his real father, who was an “athletic, creative and intelligent filmmaker”.
  • There’s a reason we associate cops with doughnuts, and it’s not as silly as comedians would have you believe. Cops working the graveyard shift in the mid-20th century had few options for late-night or early-morning dining, but most donut shops and bakeries started making their wares before sunrise. “They could cook lunch, pray for dinner all night on their own, or stock up on donuts,” said Norm Stamper, the former Seattle Police Department chief, quoted in “The Donut: History, Recipes and Lore from Boston to Berlin” by Michael Krondl. “The donuts usually won,” he said.
  • Speaking of cops and donuts: In 2013, the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, the Boston Police Department specifically requested that several Dunkin’ locations remain open despite an area-wide lockdown, especially so that they could feed the officials who hunted the second. suspicious. “At the direction of authorities, select Boston-area Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants are open to meet the needs of law enforcement and first responders,” a chain spokesperson said at the time, as reports Boston.com. These places provided free coffee and food to police and first responders.
  • Donut boxes are often depicted as pink on television or in movies, as pink donut boxes are common in Southern California, where most of these shows or movies are made. “Whenever you see a movie or sitcom set in New York and a pink donut box pops up, you know [filming] obviously took place in LA,” one of the box makers told the Los Angeles Times in 2017.
  • Another thing about pink donut boxes: These boxes likely became ubiquitous in Southern California thanks to Cambodian refugee Ted Ngoy and his protege Ning Yen, according to the LA Times. Stories differ, but local parents and businessmen agree that either Ngoy or Yen (or both) asked their supplier for a more affordable alternative to the then-standard white boxes. Pink was less expensive and soon became the color of choice for other Cambodian immigrants who opened their own donut shops in Southern California. (Yen’s son offered a different explanation to the LA Times, saying his father originally wanted red boxes — red being a symbol of good fortune — but “factories kept sending it back pink.”)
  • Elvis Presley did only one commercial in his career, singing the Southern Maid Donuts jingle in 1954. “You can heat them up after 4 p.m., you can heat them up,” he sang. “Southern Maid Donuts are coming on site, you can heat them up after 4pm” According to the company, Presley became a fan of Southern Maid Donuts while attending the Louisiana Hayride Show in Shreveport, and even “frequented” the local store while there.
  • Despite persistent rumors to the contrary, President Kennedy did not tell West Berlin crowds that he was a “doughnut” during his famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech in 1963. It is true that “Berliner” can be interpreted as “jelly donut”. in some contexts (mostly outside of Berlin), but Kennedy was correct in his use of the term in indicating that he was a resident of Berlin in spirit, The Atlantic reported. According to Snopes, the speech was also reviewed beforehand to verify its accuracy by Robert Lochner, a Berlin-born chief German interpreter for the United States, as well as the mayor of Berlin.
President John F. Kennedy’s famous speech at Berlin’s Schoeneberg Town Hall included the phrase “Ich bin ein Berliner”, meant to signify that he was a Berliner in spirit. (DPA/DPA/AFP via Getty Images)
  • Krispy Kreme’s history dates back to 1933, but it wasn’t until 1937 that its stores began selling donuts directly to customers. According to the story, Krispy Kreme founder Vernon Rudolph sold his donuts wholesale to grocery stores in the early years, but demand from passers-by outside his North Carolina store convinced him to break into a hole in the wall and start selling to customers on the sidewalk.
  • Donut treats at Dunkin’ and Krispy Kreme, the two major donut chains in the United States, are not produced by traditional methods (i.e. punching a hole in the center of uncooked dough, then frying the resulting “rings” and the “holes” separately). Both chains currently make their donuts by pressing the dough into rings – not circles – which means there is no need to poke “holes” in the dough, and therefore no portion of “hole” in excess to be used for specific purposes of making Munchkins or donut holes.
  • There are more donut shops in Canada, per capita, than in any other country on the planet – and residents of Canada eat more donuts than anyone else, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported. It is likely that this statistic remains accurate today. The largest restaurant chain in Canada is the Tim Hortons coffee and donut shop, which by its own account is visited by 80% of Canadians “at least once a month.”
  • Our neighbors to the north may consume the most donuts per capita, but America is no slouch either, especially in the northeast. A recent study conducted by BestPlaces.net determined that the Providence-Warwick metro area in Rhode Island has the highest number of donut shops per capita in the entire country, followed by metro areas in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New York. In fact, only one major region outside of the Northeast made it to the study’s “Top Ten Donut Cities” list: the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area, which ranked 9th rank.
  • The Salvation Army always celebrates National Donut Day. Past events have included fundraisers, special deliveries to veterans, donut drops to first responders and frontline workers, and other nationwide charity events. For those who want to participate, The Salvation Army suggests frying a batch using the original “Donut Lassies” recipe, then sharing the candy with “whoever needs it most.”