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  • Mm, donuts.

  • The guiltiest of guilty pleasures.

  • But where did the donut get its shape, and more specifically, who put the hole in the donut?

  • Two competing theories set the stage for what would become known as the Great Donut Debate.

  • If you think of the quintessential American sweet snack, it is in fact the donut.

  • That's Michel Krondl.

  • He wrote this book.

  • The Donut, History, Recipes, and Lore from Boston to Berlin.

  • Suffice to say Krondl is what you call a donut expert.

  • When you have something so central to a culture as the donut is to American culture, you wanna tell stories around it.

  • We here at Great Big Story are no exception.

  • First part of our story takes us to 1916, where a Boston Post reporter interviewed Hanson Crockett Gregory.

  • Gregory gives this long interview, where he explains how he invented it, which was that he was on board ship when he had the clever idea of poking out the middle so that the whole thing would cook evenly.

  • This, he claims, made him the Columbus of the donut hole.

  • Gregory's story spread like wildfire.

  • The story was picked up by newspapers all over the country.

  • This made him a star.

  • It was little unclear why they believed the story of an 85-year-old sailor, given the reputations sailors have.

  • Skepticism aside, donuts grew more and more popular over the years, due in large part to a donut dunking fad.

  • Donut dunking becomes a national obsession.

  • In 1941, the National Dunking Association, yes, a real thing, hosted the Great Donut Debate, where the question was "Who put the hole in the donut?" And one side of the debate was the proposal that Captain Gregory had in fact invented the donut hole as he had explained, which is as a use on the ship.

  • And on the other side, Chief High Eagle of Wampanoag Tribe.

  • Chief High Eagle had a completely different story.

  • Many generations ago, a member of his tribe was pursuing a settler.

  • And this settler apparently had a donut in her hand, and this young Indian brave shot an arrow, which created a hole right in the middle of the donut.

  • In the end, the celebrity panel awarded Gregory with the innovation.

  • And though nobody can never prove that Hanson Crockett Gregory put the first hole in the donut, the tale lives on.

Mm, donuts.

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