Thinking of Grandma on National Doughnut Day
By Sam Johnson Today I'm thinking of
Grandma Dorsher (my mom's mom), and her scrumptious homemade doughnuts.
In fact, to celebrate
this memory, I'm going to take Mom out this afternoon for coffee and a couple
doughnuts at one of our favorite local coffee stops.
this on, you ask?
because today is National Doughnut Day!
National Doughnut Day
was established in 1938 by the Salvation Army of Chicago as a fund-raising
event to collect much-needed contributions during the tough years of the Great
Depression, and also to honor the Salvation "Lassies" of WWI (but
more about that later).
As a kid, I
fondly remember family visits to Grandma's house. Grandma always had a fresh
batch of her scrumptious sugar cookies or freshly made doughnuts ready for us.
Later, as a college
student spending an afternoon with Grandma, she would brew up a pot of tea for
us and bring out a plate of my favorite goodies -- freshly made, still warm,
deep fried doughnuts (usually with the doughnut holes in a separate bowl).
She would always say,
"here are some doughnuts for my favorite doughboy."
I didn't pay much
attention to her comment, thinking it to be just one of her cute little sayings
(she had a lot these she liked to use). But one day I asked her, "Grandma,
why do you call me your favorite doughboy when you serve me your doughnuts? I'm
not really that chubby!"
"Well, I only remember that doughnuts were
usually served to the soldiers heading off to war -- doughnuts for the
doughboys! -- and I guess that's why I say it."
later I learned more about the "doughnuts and the doughboys."
Doughnuts for Doughboys
According to the
Salvation Army, the story of "doughnuts for doughboys" goes like
The original Salvation Army
Doughnut was first served by Salvation Army in 1917. During WWI, Salvation Army
"lassies" were sent to the front lines of Europe to operate Salvation
Army canteens (called "huts"). These brave volunteers made home-cooked
foods, baked goods, provided clothes-mending, as well as stamps and writing
supplies, which served a huge morale boost to the troops.
Two of the
"lassies" (Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance) came
up with the idea of making deep-fried doughnuts, and it was said to be an
With all the
baking of the popular doughnuts, these Salvation Army gals were dubbed "doughgirls."
Margaret Sheldon wrote of one busy day: "Today
I made 22 pies, 300 doughnuts, 700 cups of coffee."
Often, the doughnuts were cooked in oil inside the metal helmet of an American
Origin of "Doughboy"
these doughnuts for soldiers, some believed the word "Doughboys" was
originated. However, American foot soldiers were occasionally called
"doughboys" during the Civil War. The earliest references to the
term, comes from the U.S-Mexican war. (See www.samjohnsonjournal.com for more
information on this).
National Doughnut Day
To honor the
historic role played by the Salvation Army's "doughgirls" and their
"doughnuts for doughboys," in 1938 the Salvation Army declared the
first Friday of every June to be "National Doughnut Day," and it has
continued annually ever since.
As a result, on
the first Friday in June, it is not uncommon for chapters of the Salvation
Army, as well as local bakeries, doughnut shops, or other organizations, to
offer free donuts to solicit donations for the Salvation Army.
This year, in addition to supporting
service men and women, many of the proceeds raised by the Salvation Army from
National Doughnut Day will go to
support relief efforts in Joplin, Missouri, which was struck by a deadly
tornado last Sunday, through a mobile feeding kitchen capable of serving
thousands of meals a day, just like the "huts" of WWI.
If you wish to
support this effort, you can make a contribution to you local Salvation Army,
contribute online at www.salvationarmyusa.org, or send a check to: The
Salvation Army, 615 Slaters Lane, Alexandria, VA 22313.
of National Doughnut Day, I've already made a contribution online.
Now I need to
pick up Mom and head out for a cup of joe and some tasty doughnuts!
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