Friday is National Doughnut Day -- free sinkers!
Several national chains are giving away dunkers, and one company is giving away a year's worth of treats.
On Friday we'll celebrate National Doughnut Day, a holiday that wouldn't sound nearly as pleasant if we called it "National Oily Cakes Day" or "National Treats-Fried-in-Military-Headgear Day."
Admit it: You just lost your appetite.
Well, get it back again because free doughnuts -- the correct spelling, no matter what those Dunkin' people tell you -- is coming to hundreds of shops across the United States.
For details on where to get your free doughnuts, check the end of this post. For now, it's back to the history of those oily cakes.
Although there are legends aplenty no one can pinpoint the birthplace of the doughnut. According to Smithsonian Magazine the treat "supposedly came to Manhattan (then still New Amsterdam) under the unappetizing Dutch name of olykoeks -- 'oily cakes'."
(Could be worse: In Austria a doughnut-like fried pastry is called a "Krapfen." Imagine Homer Simpson murmuring, "Mmmmm . . . Krapfen.")
National Doughnut Day was created by the Salvation Army in 1938 as a way to raise funds for the lingering Great Depression, and as a nod to the "doughnut dollies" who served the fried treats to World War I soldiers. In 1917, the Sallies had set up a mission of 250 volunteers to provide a few comforts to men on the front lines: clothes-mending, writing paper and stamps, coffee and baked goods, and the smiles of pretty young volunteers.
Turned out that their huts were ill-equipped to allow much baking, so two enterprising women decided instead to fry doughnuts in Army helmets. The Salvation Army website does not mention whether the young women told the soldiers exactly how they produced the treats.
Where to get free sinkers
These days, specialized machines turn out doughnuts en masse. Good thing, because nothing gets throngs of people into a doughnut shop like the prospect of a freebie.
Here's how to get yours:
- Dunkin' Donuts: Get a free doughnut with any beverage purchase.
- Krispy Kreme: Participating locations offer each customer a free doughnut; no purchase necessary.
- LaMar's: Get a free doughnut, no purchase necessary; participating stores will have Salvation Army kettles for donations, and the chain will donate a portion of this week's proceeds to Salvation Army tornado relief efforts in Oklahoma.
- Tim Hortons Café & Bake Shop: Print out a coupon for a free doughnut with any purchase.
Mmmmm . . . 365 days of doughnuts. Be grateful they're not Krapfen.
Readers: Which company makes the best doughnuts?
More on MSN Money:
Not much of a big deal for Krispy Kreme. They give everyone who comes in a free donut every day.
Best Doughnuts: Shipley's (Texas) and a Donut7 (a local shop in Austin).
Of course, doughnuts should be a rare treat because they are fat and carbohydrate bombs. As a kid, the only time I had doughnuts was when my mom would bring home a dozen day-olds from the supermarket bakery, or when the Hostess mini cinnamon and sugar doughnuts were at a really good sale. Boston Creme with chocolate icing or Bavarian Creme with powdered sugar were my favorites. Now this article and discussion is making me hungry for a doughnut.....
Krispy Kreme for sure.
All of the doughnut shops here are precipitating. =)
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