The (Donut) Hole Story


New Englander’s love doughnuts (donuts) almost as much as ice cream. The Smithsonian reported that back in the mid-19th century Elizabeth Gregory, a New England ship captain’s mother made a “wicked deep-fried dough” that used her son’s spice cargo of nutmeg and cinnamon and lemon rind. Legend has it that she made it so son Hanson and his crew could store a pastry on long voyages to help ward off scurvy and colds. Mrs. Gregory often put hazelnuts or walnuts in the center, where the dough might not cook through ….hence the name doughnuts.

But it was her son Hanson who always claimed credit for putting the hole in the doughnut… The story (according to him) was that he gave the doughnut its shape when he needed to keep both hands on the wheel in a storm, so he skewered one of his mom’s doughnuts on a spoke of his ship’s wheel and voila! The hole was born…

Every Wednesday and on some holiday’s ….donut day has become a work place tradition in keeping with our New England culinary roots. Today, I stopped at the local Dunkin Donuts (another New England legend) to pick up a few dozen for the crew to stave off scurvy and colds like back in Capt’n Hanson’s day.  It was then that I learned about the legend of the infamous Donut Shack.

Just as I collected the boxes of Dunkin Donuts a guy behind me whispers…”If you want the best Donuts you have ever tasted ….you need to go to the Donut Shack up the street from here”.

He then moved very close and whispered again in a very assured tone… “whoever you buying these for will LOVE you for it!!” “I mean they are the best” … and just when I thought he couldn’t get any closer….He moved in almost nose to nose and said… I mean I’m telling you the truth.. they are the best!

I looked around to find out why he was whispering and then to the Dunkin Donuts lady for a sanity check and she (not whispering mind you) said loudly… Yup…He’s right…That’s where I get all my donuts!

So there I stood……with two dozen historical fakers in hand… These I’m told …are not what the Capt’n impaled on his ship’s wheel…these will not keep your crew from scurvy…. They were put to the test and were found lacking… but they look so pretty??


As 2017 rolls in it brings with it a new mission to ensure the safety of my men….I will journey the back roads of Lowell and sail into the Lowell Donut Shack… There I will onboard their precious cargo to the delight of the woman and men of our crew.  We will sail from port knowing we have the Donut Shack’s best on board and the Capt.’s wheel will be full to ensure we weather the storms ahead.  Happy 2017…  Enjoy!





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