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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.

By Donna_Freedman Jun 6, 2013 11:46AM

Donuts (©ULTRA.F/Getty Images)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.
Incidentally, World War I soldiers were not known as "doughboys" because they ate so many doughnuts. The word was in use as early as 1840, according to a book of Mexican War letters published by the University of Kentucky.

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 KremeParticipating 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 ShopPrint out a coupon for a free doughnut with any purchase.
Entenmann's Bakery will celebrate in a slightly different way. The baked-goods company will donate $1 to the Salvation Army  for each person who "likes" the company on Facebook. While you're there, enter a sweepstakes for a chance at winning free doughnuts for a year.

Mmmmm . . . 365 days of doughnuts. Be grateful they're not Krapfen.

Readers: Which company makes the best doughnuts?

More on MSN Money:

Jun 6, 2013 1:13PM

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).

Jun 6, 2013 3:02PM
I've always preferred spudnuts, but they are harder to find these days. Now is the time for all the sanctimonious folks to post that they don't eat doughnuts, how bad they are for you, etc., etc. Bunch of wet blanket kill-joys if you ask me...
Jun 6, 2013 4:22PM
The best doughnuts, Spudnuts in Richland WA..The spudnut is made with potato flour, so your getting your veggies.
Jun 6, 2013 1:33PM
Take my donut out to that guy with the paper sign on the median...
Jun 6, 2013 4:02PM
Best doughnuts of all the places I have lived... Michigan, Ohio and Colorado... is......... wait for it..................Hamilton Pastries in Midland MI... Two locations... I just love there long johns... with the old fashion filling... and no I don't get paid for this... but each time I visit my hometown of Midland I stop and get 2 doughnuts... hmmmmmm
Jun 6, 2013 4:08PM
Pearl Harbor Day is in December, Doofus!!
Jun 6, 2013 1:15PM
try to go to one of them doughnut shops on friday and ask for a free doughnut, they won't understand you, and chase you out the door.
Jun 6, 2013 6:15PM
I thought everybody knew where doughnuts came from:  the Pillsbury dough boy.
Jun 6, 2013 4:46PM
With purchase is NOT free nice try .
I see a whole lotta fatsos tying up the lines 
Jun 6, 2013 1:37PM
Jun 6, 2013 1:38PM

krispy kreme doesn't give them free here any more. Lubbock tx.


Jun 6, 2013 11:55PM
Does anybody remember the "Daisy Doughnut Maker" from the 1970's and early '80's? I have the Sears branded model (The 2-donut one, there is a 4-donut model too), picked it up at a Goodwill thrift shop for $2 10 years ago. Makes yummy buttermilk cake doughnuts, rolled in a cinnamon-sugar mix. Yum! It's not like the newer bakers that simply make ring-shaped muffins, not doughnuts. You put a half-teaspoon of oil in the wells, add batter/dough, close lid, add another teaspoon of oil to each of the reservoirs in the lid. I use heart-healthy canola oil, and make the batter using whole wheat four. This makes the doughnuts a little healthier. I haven't bought a doughnut since getting this. My sister borrowed it and my teenage niece made apple-cider cake donuts it.

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.....

Love a donut every once in a while. Don't eat them often so they are a real treat when I do. Will be doing that tomorrow for sure.
Madsen Donuts at Geneva on the Lake , Ohio are the best in the U.S.!! If you don't believe come to the U.S. North Shore. The Great Lake Erie and find out for yourself. I buy donuts there every week from seasonal summer open to fall close. Geneva on the Lake is a quaint little summer resort town on Lake Erie in Northeast Ohio.
Jun 6, 2013 6:51PM
Can the person who mentioned "spudnuts" confirm if these are Pennsylvania Dutch-type goodies called fastnachts?  They are truly delicious and lend themselves to being filled with all sorts of stuff.
Jun 6, 2013 6:51PM
lamar's hands down, bigger better, and very reasonably priced. too bad none in  western mass.
Jun 6, 2013 3:31PM
Sweetwater's Donuts in Kalamazoo, MI are the best!
Jun 6, 2013 3:13PM

Krispy Kreme for sure. 

All of the doughnut shops here are precipitating. =)

#ohf***yeah anyone?

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