The true origin of the donut (also spelled doughnut) is unknown. Dutch people made donuts by frying balls of cake. However, there was no hole in the center of the donut which often caused the center to not cook all the way through. Instead the cakes were stuffed with fruit, nuts, or other fillings.
The donut shape was invented by Hanson Gregory in 1847. The 16 year old was on a ship and poked a hole in the center of the dough because he did not like how the center of the donut was often raw. Punching a hole in the middle of the donut and then frying it allowed all parts of the donut to cook evenly.
In 1920, Adolph Levitt created the first donut machine and was featured at the 1934 World Fair in Chicago. Some people believe that the middle of the donut is used to make donut holes but the truth is that the dough is sprayed into the donut making machines of today.
The most popular doughnut restaurants across the country are Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’ Donuts, Tim Hortons, and Starbucks. The average American eats 31 doughnuts a year, which equals to about two to three donuts a month.
The most popular donut flavor is glazed, followed by chocolate glazed, Boston crème, chocolate long john, chocolate frosting with sprinkles, strawberry jelly, maple, powdered, double chocolate, vanilla frosting with sprinkles, custard, sugar, cinnamon, apple fritter, and lemon cream.
10 billion doughnuts are eaten in the United States every year.