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How in the World Did the Donut Develop a Hole?

How in the World Did the Donut Develop a Hole?
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Welcome to the December 2011 edition of Jud’s New England Journal, the rather curious monthly musings of Judson Hale, the Editor-in-Chief of Yankee Magazine,
published since 1935 in Dublin, N.H.

How in the World Did the Donut Develop a Hole?

Really now. This is important!

There are, of course, countless theories. The most widely believed one was the declared winner of the Great Doughnut Debate held at New York City’s 1939 World’s Fair, as judged by many celebrities of the time, including Elsa Maxwell. The same theory won in a similar debate at that year’s Maine Hotel Association dinner, attended by many of New England’s top government officials, including Maine’s governor, Lewis Barrows.

Both groups, after examining affidavits, letters and other documents, declared that Captain Hanson Crockett Gregory of Rockport, Maine, had invented the doughnut hole.
“Young Hanson Gregory,” the New York group wrote, “was in the kitchen watching his mother make fried cakes. He asked why the centers seemed so soggy. She said they were seldom cooked through. The boy then poked the center on a few uncooked cakes with a fork. His mother cooked them that way – and from then on cooked them that way. So the doughnut was born.”

In 1947, a full century after this incident supposedly occurred, a bronze tablet was placed on the old Gregory home in Rockport. As far as I know, it’s still there. It reads: “In commemoration. This is the birthplace of Captain Hanson Gregory, who first invented the hole on the doughnut in 1847. Erected by his friends, November 2, 1947.”
Another popular version also recognized Captain Gregory but claims that the hole was born around 1870 aboard Gregory’s ship at sea. The good captain, as the story goes, was at the wheel during a storm; knowing his fondness for cake, the ship’s cook brought him one. Just as he was about to take a bite into it, the ship was struck by a mountainous wave that forced him to grasp the wheel with both hands. Not wishing to lose the cake – naturally – he jammed it down over the wheel and then proceeded to bring his ship back on course.

When the wheel returned to its original position, Gregory noticed his cake still on the spoke, safe and ready to eat. Except that now it was, voil

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How in the World Did the Donut Develop a Hole?

Updated Thursday, December 1st, 2011

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