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Introduction & Author's Notes
Because OSO-ONO Foods produces fried dessert dough (originally intended for malassadas), I began doing some research about the Portuguese who originally brought the malassada to Hawaii. Little did I realize that I had just crawled into Alice's rabbit hole. As the research continued, I logged many references that I thought were relevant to the history of fried dough. Some of them are listed here. What I began to see was that fried dough can be found in almost every culture and that shapes, sizes, coatings, and recipes were very similar although the names may be quite different. I began to see that our dough could be the basis for producing many authentic ethnic fried desserts.

Also along the way I began to believe that, regardless of who invented fried dough, it seemed to be the Portuguese that was largely responsible for spreading the recipe over most of the globe. I have tried to show a correlation between Portuguese colonization during the Age of Exploration and the presence of malassada-like desserts in those areas. In the text that follows you will see my comments in green. Wayne Creekmore

  10,000 - 5,000 BC
Before the development of pottery vessels some 7000 to 12,000 years ago, food was cooked by roasting it over or toasting it beside open fires, or by wrapping it in leaves or husks, to be pit-steamed over embers. The development of pottery made possible such relatively sophisticated cooking methods as boiling, stewing, braising, frying, and, perhaps, a primitive form of baking. Internet source for this information no longer exists..
Grinding Grain

Neolithic Age: 8,000 - 5,500 BC
Light refreshments and pastry of great variety and meticulously made have a long history in China. The origin of Chinese pastry can be traced back to the Neolithic Age when the stone grinder was invented to make the grinding of grain possible. Source

Fried cakes are nothing new - they can be traced as far back as the 5th millennium BC and it is believed the ancient Egyptians ate them. Internet source for this information no longer exists.

Author's Note: The use of the stone grinder continues today in many unindustrialized countries, remaining virtually unchanged for thousands of years.

Prehistoric Native American Settlements
"...doughnuts in some form or other have been around so long that archaeologists keep turning up fossilized bits of what look like doughnuts in the middens of prehistoric Native American settlements." Source
  2nd Century BC
The Roman scriblita, described by Cato in the 2nd Century BC, was probably a precursor of both fritters and doughnuts. Lumps of moist dough (leavened with sourdough) were spooned into hot fat, and allowed to stream in random shapes. Internet source for this information no longer exists. In Latin, scriblita means "a kind of pastry."
  7th or 8th Century
It is believed that the art of deep-frying came to Japan from China in the 7th or 8th century. Cooking oil was very expensive in those days, so Buddhist temples were about the only places serving deep-fried food. Some of these delicacies were deep-fried sweet cakes. It was only in the 16th and 17th centuries, after European culture was introduced to Japan, that vegetable oil, so important for deep frying, was produced in Japan in large quantities. Tempura soon became popular throughout the country, bringing a new culinary sensation that sprang partly from European and Chinese cuisine. Internet source for this information no longer exists.
Map of the Azores

1445
Located about 900 miles off the Portuguese coast in the Atlantic, the uninhabited islands of the Azores were encountered by Portuguese sailors in 1427 or 1431 and first colonized in 1445. Source

Sao Migel in the Azores is credited with being the ancestral home of the Hawaiian malassada. The Portuguese likely brought the recipe with them when they colonized the Madeira Islands around 1420 and later the Azores. It is on the island of São Miguel that the term name malassada seems to first appear. The other islands in the Azores called them filhós.

1520's Portuguese Map of the Americas 1520's
Portuguese explore the Eastern seaboard of the Americas. Source
  1530's
Portuguese colonization of Brazil; introduction of sugar cultivation. Internet source for this information no longer exists..
  1549
Thomé de Souza, the first governor-general, founded São Salvador (Bahia) as seat of the government and established a colony. São Paulo was founded shortly after mid-century. Source
De Halve Maen (Half Moon) sailing vessel 1609
The Dutch first arrived in America in 1609 when the Dutch East India Company vessel De Halve Maen, commanded by the English captain, Henry Hudson, laid anchor at Sandy Hook, before sailing up what is now known as the Hudson River. Source
Map of New Amsterdam on Manhattan 1625
In 1625, the colony of New Amsterdam on Manhattan island was founded by the Dutch as a private corporation. Although the Dutch founders would have preferred that its settlers be Dutch, they were primarily interested in making a profit and thus would take as settlers anyone they thought could perform the necessary work. Many felt that such a diverse society would never survive. Source
1752
In 1752, Aaron Lopez founded the sperm whale oil industry in America and had 30 ships in his fleet. He got his crews from the Azores and operated out of New Bedford, Massachusetts. These whalers were the first documented Azorean settlers in the United States. They came from Sao Jorge, Faial, Pico, and Flores. The settlers were young males who eventually would send for their loved ones. When whaling was on the decline, the Azoreans gravitated towards to textile mills found in and near New Bedford and to the fishing banks nearby. Some went to California on whaling ships and soon were in the gold fields there. Source
Portrait of Washington Irving 1809
The earliest occurrence of the term 'dough nut' is in the "History of New York" by Washington Irving (1809) wherein he wrote in a comical description of Dutch settlers in New Amsterdam (later New York) that "The table ...was sure to boast an enormous dish of balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog's fat, and called dough nuts, or oly koeks." Internet source for this information no longer exists.
 

1847
(As one story goes....) The origin of the doughnut hole: Captain Hanson Gregory, a 19th-century Marine sea captain, was eating a doughnut while sailing through a storm. Suddenly the ship rocked violently and threw him against the ship's wheel, impaling his cake on one of its spokes. Seeing how well the spoke held his cake, Gregory began ordering all of his cakes with holes in them. Internet source for this information no longer exists.

(As another story goes....) In 1847, another New England ship captain's enjoyed his mother's pastries. Made using a deep-fried spiced dough, Elizabeth Gregory put hazelnuts or walnuts in the center, where the dough might not cook through - "doughnuts." Captain Hanson Gregory claimed credit for originating the hole in the doughnut. Originally, he cut the hole using the top of a round tin pepper box. This made more uniform frying possible with increased surface area, commemorated by a bronze plaque at his hometown, Rockport, Maine. Source

  July 9, 1872
In 1872, New England sea captain, John F. Blondel of Thomaston, Maine, patents the doughnut cutter. Source
  1878 - 1888
Portuguese immigration to Hawaii
  1890's
First wave of Portuguese leave Hawaii for California.
Salvation Army lassie serving doughnuts 1917
In August, 1917, fighting raged near Montiers, France, as soldiers huddled in camp - hungry, weary and drenched by 36 consecutive days of rain. In a tent near the front lines, Salvation Army lassies made donuts by filling a refuge pail with oil, made dough with left over flour and other ingredients on hand, and used a wine bottle as a rolling pin. With a baking powder tin for a cutter end a camphor-ice suck tube for making the holes, donuts were fried - seven at a time - in soldier's steel helmets on an 18-inch stove. (Later, a seven-pound shell fitted with a one-pound shell was used to cut out the donut holes.)

Rain fell continuously, the water-soaked tent finally Collapsed. However, the 100 donuts made that first day were an immediate success Soon, as many as 500 soldiers stood in muck outside the resurrected tent waiting for the sweet taste of donuts and, before long, 9,000 donuts were being made around the clock. The tent became the first 24-hour donut shop. Source | Salvation Army doughnut recipe

An original Ring King Jr. doughnut machine 1920
The first doughnut machine did not come along until 1920, in New York City, when Adolph Levitt, an enterprising refugee from czarist Russia, began selling fried doughnuts from his bakery. Hungry theater crowds pushed him to make a gadget that churned out the tasty rings faster, and he did. Source
Krispy  Kreme's first store 1937
First day of business for Krispy Kreme.
Red Cross doughnut girl, Deborah Bankart,  making doughnuts during WWII 1945
In l945....American Red Cross personnel followed the invasion forces in Europe and the Pacific. Clubmobile Service operated in the European Theater of Operations. Its courageous members often carried coffee and doughnuts to soldiers for many miles over roads too rough for regular travel. Doughnuts became closely associated with the American Red Cross: the organization purchased enough flour between l939 and l946 to make 1.6 billion of them. Red Cross women served doughnuts at the rate of 400 per minute during the years l944-46. Source
Red Cross Donut Poster
About the OSO-ONO Founders 2002
A group of four ex-Hawaiians of birth or heart form OSO-ONO Foods LLC with the intention of providing the freshest and best-tasting Hawaiian malassadas in California.
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2003
OSO-ONO Foods LLC begins its wholesale phase.