"The earliest occurrence of the word (doughnut) is in the "History of New York" by Washington Irving (1809). He had to define the word, so we can assume that it was not a widely known dish at the time, at least to his audience. And, interestingly, he defines doughnuts as "balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog's fat". This suggests that doughnuts were not named after knots or nuts and bolts, but instead after nuts like walnuts or pecans. They were balls of dough that, when fried to a deep golden brown, resembled nuts. Doughnuts only took their torus shape to overcome a problem inherent in balls of dough - uncooked centers. Removing the centers ensured that the doughnuts would be cooked throughout." Source
Regardless of who invented doughnuts and when, one thing is certain: when doughnut making became mechanized the homemade shape, taste and texture, common to the home kitchens around the world, was lost. We at OSO-ONO Foods LLC are trying our best to make that homemade product available to you once again.
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