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December 05, 1969 - Image 17

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-12-05

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Friday, December 5, 1 966,

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Seven

Friday, December 5, 9&. THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Seven

The Americanization
Don
of the doughnut
By LINDSAY CIANEY
F VERY DAY, Americans conisume on the average 42 million dough-
nuts, yet it is safe to say that on any given day, not one doughnut
eater will ponder the revelance of the doughsnut to the American 'ay
of life, past, present and future.
Such a situation of ignoranee concerin the cure and history
surrounding the Great American Dotiunut is intolerable, especially
since the doughnut is as patriotic as George Washington, the Flag, -
and Spiro Agnew, and ranks as an invention alongside the ice cream
cone, the flap qack, atd the BLT on toast.
When Dutch stttters caie to New England. they brought with
them a type of hard. fried cake which they called olykoeck. This
olykoeck gradually acquired the colloquial name of dough nut because
it was made of dough and had a certain characteristic of the nuts
which abounded in the New England woodlands; more precisely, it
was extremely hard.
The dough nuts (formerly olykoeck) were a most amazing food.
In size and shape they resembled a hockey puck. In taste and texture
they were quite analogous to a brick. This latter characteristic made
then a favorite food for failing voyages because they were not affect-
ed by moisture and could not become stale.
On a sea voyage, there were other advantages to carrying along
a good supply of dough nuts (two words, henceforth. recalling the
etymology of the speciman). In a pinch, they could substitute as
pumice stones for scrubbing the deck. They were also used with
great success as projectiles for warding off unfriendly sharks or
pirates, and as a means for expressing disapproval of the culinary
skills of the cook.
The most drastic use of the dough nut as a projectile came in
1846 when the crew of the Jolly Elf mutinied against their captain *
John Gregory and dough-nutted him to death.
In December of 1947 Hanson Gregory (brother of John Gregory
and a sea captain himself) was planning a voyage from Rockport,
Maine, to California. He realized however that such a voyage would
be long and the crew would undergo extreme hardship among which
was eating extremely hard dough nuts. In an effort to improve the ,
lot of his crew, and at the same time avoid the fate which befell his p
brother, Hanson decided to improve the doughnut to make it more .
digestable.
Hanson's efforts resulted in cutting a hole in the dough nut
before cooking.
Some people thought that the rationale for cutting the hole was
that the less of the dough nut there was to eat, the more digestable
it would be. This analysis is faulty however. The reason for cutting
the hole was to allow the dough nut to cook more evenly.
Hanson was overjoyed at the success of his innovation. The new,
improved dough nut was as edible as anyone could want. In fact, so
proud of the new improved dough nut was Hanson that he invited i
all the sailors in Rockport to a premiere eating on Christmas day.
The reviews of the new improved dough nut were ecstatic. The
Rockport Rusti described the new improved dough nut a the eat-
est invention siiice the spinning wheel," aind the Boston Globe ac-
claimed Hanson Gregory as "the man who will be remembered asj--
the Father of the Great American Dough nut."f -
With the passage of time, "new improved dough nut" wasI
shortened to simply "doughnut," and Hanson Gregory was all but o u s
forgotten.
Today American doughnut culture has degenerated to the point bea
where not one person in a million can name the inventor of thea
doughnut. Typical of the American lack of knowledge about dough- a t
nuts is the answer by a flippant employe of WCBN who replied when
asked if he knew who invented the doughnut, "Sure, a big hole "be

't make Christmas a Silent Night...

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--Photographed by Richard Lee. Studio courtesy of U. of M. Photo Services
Split cowhide is fashioned into this modern
patchwork jumper. Equally new is the tissue
voile shirt underneath. Both available at Para-
phernalia.

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