Let’s first chat about why there’s a difference in spelling.
So doughnut is the original spelling of the word. But, like with many things, Americans shortened it. This is why you’ll see Dunkin’ Donuts instead of Dunking Doughnuts.
According to the masterminds at Merriam-Webster (follow them on twitter to see why @MerriamWebster):
“We've been encountering the variant donut in published, edited text since the mid-20th century. It was certainly helped along by famous doughnut purveyors – both Dunkin' and Mister – but in truth they and all who've accepted the variant were following in a tradition of phonetic-based spelling reform also embraced by the likes of Benjamin Franklin and Noah Webster. And when we consider the variety of things the letter combination ough does in English – tough, though, through, drought, bought, cough – surely it's not wholly irrational to welcome the simplification that donut offers.
How did the sweetened dough, deep fried, filled with gooey sweetness or sprinkled with a sugary delight become a thing?
Doughnut Day was created by the Chicago branch of Salvation Army in 1938 to raise funds during the Great Depression, and to honor the work of World War I Salvation Army volunteers who prepared doughnuts and other foods for thousands of soldiers.
By Salvation Army "War Cry" magazine, November 9, 1918 via Public Domain
According to Wikipedia:
“About 250 Salvation Army volunteers went to France. Because of the difficulties of providing freshly baked goods from huts established in abandoned buildings near to the front lines, two Salvation Army volunteers (Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance) came up with the idea of providing doughnuts. These are reported to have been an "instant hit" and "soon many soldiers were visiting Salvation Army huts". Margaret Sheldon wrote of one busy day "Today I made 22 pies, 300 doughnuts, 700 cups of coffee." Read the full history here>>
Happy National Doughnut Day or Donut Day!
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