Old Fashioned Donuts on the 75th National Donut Day

June 1, 2012

Today is not only National Donut Day but its 75th annual year. It's not one of those random food holidays, like National Hazelnut Cake Day or National Macaroon Day, but actually a celebration commemorating those who've fought the wars, in more way than one.

"The holiday, held annually on the first Friday of June, was established by The Salvation Army in 1938 to honor The Salvation Army's 'Donut Lassies' who served these treats to soldiers during World War I," says The SA website, "This significant occasion established the donut as a long-standing symbol of the services The Salvation Army continues to provide."

Under the section "75th Annual National Donut Day Fun Facts:...With limited resources, these treats were fried, sometimes only seven at a time. The Salvation Army's Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance cleverly thought of frying donuts in soldiers' helmets."

I really don't think that's a fun fact, but resourceful indeed.

Old Fashioned Donuts isn't doing anything special for National Donut Day, but every day is a special donut day there. Or if it were up to me, apple fritter day. Sweet, fried dough connoiseurs know that's the thing to get at OFD.
Back to the Salvation Army, five years ago now I judged a cake contest, which left a lot of leftover cake. I made a few calls and my friend Gary Wiviott (whom you met in a previous post as the pitmaster who makes no little plates) patched me through to his contact at the SA. Gary's cooked for SA charitable events for years, with a little help from his food friends.
 
Very soon, a truck arrived to pick up the perfectly edible cakes for dinner that night. The irony was that one of the SA's programs works in drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and the theme of the cakes was wine. I was told the cakes would be cut up into serving portions in the kitchen.
 
A sweet ending indeed.
 
Old Fashioned Donuts
11248 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60628
773-995-7420
(NB: Closed Sundays)