The Journey to the Cronut, Part I of III: Doughnuts

donut_love_simpons Doughnuts, a cop’s favorite accessory and Homer Simpson’s best friend. They are so ubiquitous that it’s hard to believe they have such an extensive history. Many people have devoted their lives to discovering how these simple, yet ingenious, pastries originated. No, we’re serious. Numerous anthropologists have come up with many different theories, but don’t worry Fiestah is here to set the story straight.

History Lesson

After some thorough research, it is fairly clear that the idea of frying dough in oil originated somewhere in Western Europe during the 1400’s.  These pastries were not quite the doughnuts we know though, because they didn’t have a hole in the middle.  For centuries people would have to deal with undercooked centers and pray that their great grandchildren might one day discover a way to avoid this agony.  Well, in 1847, their prayers were answered by Hansen Gregory. Hanson Crockett Gregory Although it is definitive that Hansen came up with the idea to put a hole in the middle, it is highly disputed how he came up with the idea.  Since there are too many stories to share with you here, we have done the liberty of finding the most believable (aka most exciting) story of how he came up with the idea for you.

One day he was captaining his ship when a heavy storm hit.  Tragically, the storm hit precisely when he began to eat his doughnut.  Because of the extreme conditions it was clear that he needed two hands to man his ship, and no free hands for doughnut eating.  So in the spur of the moment, he heroically thrust his doughnut into a nearby pole, and was able to eat hands-free.  Once he realized that he no longer had to eat the undercooked center to enjoy the pastry, he knew that he had struck gold.  He brought this revolutionary discovery back with him to New England and the new doughnut with a hole in the center was ordained as a food from the gods.  The people of his village did not revere him quite as much as they did his new doughnut, in fact, they believed he was a witch and later killed him for his perceived ways. (Source: http://thehistorykitchen.com/2011/06/03/the-history-of-doughnuts/)

In conclusion, people have suffered with incomplete doughnuts for longer than America has been a country, and a man has even given up his life for the holy cause of perfecting them, so you better be pretty damn well appreciative the next time you step foot in Dunkin’ Donuts or Krispy Kreme to get your chocolate-frosted glazed cream-filled doughnut. Now that you’ve got your history lesson for the day, here are a couple of our favorite doughnut shops in NYC. What are some others you love (let us know in the comments)?

Dough

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Deep-fried goodness meets art at this Brooklyn joint. Their instagram page leaves many wondering if they should eat these treats or just display them, but the consensus generally sides with eating them.  Their motto, “We fry in Bed-Stuy,” accurately describes the freshness of their donuts.

Doughnut Plant

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From Minnesota, to the first world war in Paris, to NYC, this perfect doughnut recipe has resided in owner Mark Israel’s family for quite some time. They’ve got an incredible original doughnut and a variety of delicious others like chocolate hazelnut or crème brûlée. Yum!
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