Each year we celebrate National Doughnut Day, a holiday erected in 1938 to honor the Salvation Army’s “Doughnut Lassies.” Today, the doughnut holiday means free doughnuts (and other sweet perks) from many local shops. While it can be hard to imagine a world without maple bacon bars and apple pie cheddar doughnuts, this tasty treat hasn’t been around forever. That’s why we’ve compiled a seriously sweet history of doughnuts that is sure to send you scrambling to Krispy Kreme before the day is over.
While the history of doughnuts in America is relatively short, people have been making similar treats throughout the world for centuries. In Ancient Rome and Greece, cooks fried strips of pastry dough and covered them in various sweet and savory flavors. In Medieval times, Arab individuals dipped fried dough into sugary syrup, and Germans made a savory version in the 1400s when sugar was scarce. These fried dough treats were not the same as today’s doughnut, but they laid the foundation for doughnuts to come.