Go on a Donut Day Adventure on National Donut Day

The first Friday in June—June 7 this year—is National Donut Day

What is round, fried, makes your mouth water and has its own national holiday?

Donuts! The glazed, cream-filled, varied beauties are celebrated each year. While the taste alone is enough to celebrate, National Donut Day actually has a meaningful history rooted in the American spirit.

Today, most people celebrate without understanding the history. The holiday has been commercialized by donut shops nationwide with some serving up everything from free donuts to donut contests.

Keep reading to learn more about National Donut Day and when and how to partake in the festivities.

National Donut Day © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What is National Donut Day?

You might be surprised but National Donut Day is a holiday. Its history which we trace below is much more than about the tasty treat.

But today the holiday is celebrated in many creative ways paying homage to the donut. Some donut shops have a special flavor, others, like Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ gives everyone a free donut just for showing up.

When is National Donut Day?

National Donut Day falls on the first Friday of June every year. This year, Friday, June 7 is National Donut Day.

There is also a second, but less popularly celebrated National Donut Day. November 10 is the birthday of the United States Marine Corps. Americans convinced the Vietnamese to help them celebrate by giving out donuts in honor of the occasion.

Since then National Donut Day is also celebrated by some on November 5. The celebration is speculated to have originated from that event in Vietnam.

There was no shortage of donuts during November in Vietnam. The 200 female American Red Cross volunteers or Donut Dollies turned out about 20,000 donuts daily for GIs.

National Donut Day © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The history of National Donut Day

With so many food holidays out there, it’s pretty easy to trivialize their significance. But National Donut Day has a filling as rich as the custard of a Boston cream donut.

National Donut Day dates back to World War I. The female volunteers of the Salvation Army cooked donuts for American GIs overseas. The tradition carried on through the Great Depression.

During the Great Depression, the Chicago Salvation Army claimed National Donut Day as an official holiday in order to celebrate the female volunteers who championed the GIs during the war. It became official in 1938.

These female volunteers became known as Donut Dollies. They would each make upwards of 300 donuts a day—by hand.

The female volunteers who made donuts were called dough girls or dough lassies. They continued to serve donuts to GIs during World War II. Throughout various wars like the Vietnam War soldiers continued the tradition of eating donut-like food wherever they were serving.

Prisoner of war Orson Swindle had his soldiers observe the holiday during the Vietnam War by serving them sweet sticky buns. Eventually, bakeries and civilians alike started celebrating every year by eating a rich sweet donut.

National Donut Day © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The importance of National Donut Day

Beyond its historic importance, National Donut Day celebrates one of America’s most beloved treats. Although donuts are actually believed to be from the Netherlands and immigrated to New York with the Dutch. Nevertheless, 56 percent of Americans said they’ve taken donuts to their office.

Because it only comes once (and sometimes twice) a year, it is important for donut shops to seize the opportunity. Many shops celebrate and monetize National Donut Day by preparing marketing campaigns well in advance.

National Donut Day timeline

  • 1809: One of the earliest accounts of donuts are attributed to Dutch settlers that brought them over to New York
  • 1918: The Salvation Army sets up canteens in the frontlines of World War I to provide care and donuts for soldiers
  • 1920: Adolph Levitt, a refugee from Russia designs a gadget to help him keep up with the demand for donuts at his shop
  • 1989: The Simpsons is aired for the first time and the world is introduced to Homer, a true donut lover
National Donut Day © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Donuts by the numbers

  • 10 billion: Number of donuts made in the U.S. each year
  • 10: Number of people living in America with Donut as their surname
  • 13: Number of people who have Donut as their first name
  • 2,480: Boston has one donut shop for every 2,480 people
  • 20: Number of donuts Renée Zellweger ate every day to gain weight for the sequel of Bridget Jones’s Diary
  • 9: Guinness World Record for the most powdered donuts eaten in three minutes
  • 201.02 million: Number of donuts consumed by Americans in 2020
  • 100,000: Number of donuts churned out by Entenmann’s every hour
  • 3,660: Number of donuts it would take to reach the top of the Statue of Liberty
  • 55 million: Number of donuts it would take to get from Long Beach, California to Long Island, New York

Top 10 donut flavors

  • Glazed: 28 percent
  • Boston Cream: 17 percent
  • Chocolate Frosted: 16 percent
  • Jelly Filled: 11 percent
  • Chocolate Cake: 7 percent
  • Maple: 6 percent
  • Blueberry: 5 percent
  • Bear Claw: 4 percent
  • Powdered Sugar: 3 percent
  • Pink Frosted: 3 percent
National Donut Day © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Top 10 favorite donut chains

  • #1: Krispy Kreme: 41 percent
  • #2: Dunkin’ Donuts: 40 percent
  • #3: Shipley Donuts: 4 percent
  • #4: Tim Hortons 3 percent
  • #5: Voodoo Donuts: 3 percent
  • #6: Daylight Donuts: 3 percent
  • #7: Entenmann’s Donuts in my own kitchen: 3 percent
  • #8: Winchell’s Donuts: 2 percent
  • #9: Lamar’s Donuts: 1 percent
  • #10: Honey Dew Donuts: 1 percent

National Donut Day activities

  • Go on a donut adventure: Visit a local donut shop but don’t go for your usual, instead allow yourself to experiment with different flavors
  • Share the love: Pick out a variety of donuts to share with family and friends
  • Fry ‘em up: Making your own donuts can be an exciting experience to share with friends and family

Worth Pondering…

With a doughnut in each hand, anything is possible.

—Jameela Jamil 

January 19: However You like Popcorn Enjoy It TODAY on National Popcorn Day

This annual celebration recognizes a treat that satisfies munchies, day or night

On January 19th National Popcorn Day pops onto the scene with a crunch we all love to enjoy! This time-honored snack can be sweet or savory, caramelized, buttered or plain, molded into a candied ball, or tossed with nuts and chocolate. However you like it, enjoy it on National Popcorn Day, January 19th.

Buttered, salted, kettled, and drizzled with caramel, popcorn is one of those snacks perfect anytime, anywhere. It’s great on the go, in the theater, or your living room! Just be prepared to dig some of it out of your teeth.

Yoder Popcorn © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Did you know that the corn we eat and the corn we pop are two different varieties of maize? The corn you’d find on your dinner table is most likely unable to pop at all. Only one variety of corn can become popcorn: Zea mays everta. This particular corn variety has small ears and the kernels burst when exposed to dry heat. 

In 1948, small heads of Zea mays everta were discovered by Herbert Dick and Earle Smith in the Bat Cave of west-central New Mexico. Ranging from smaller than a penny to about two inches, the oldest Bat Cave ears were about 4,000 years old. Several individually popped kernels were also discovered which have since been carbon-dated and shown to be approximately 5,600 years old. There’s also evidence of early use of popcorn in Peru, Mexico, and Guatemala as well as other places in Central and South America. 

Aztecs used popcorn to decorate their clothes, create ceremonial embellishments, and also for nourishment. Native Americans have also been found to consume and utilize popcorn in their day-to-day lives. In a cave in Utah thought to be inhabited by Pueblo Native Americans, popcorn has been found that dates back to over 1,000 years ago. French explorers who traveled to the new world discovered the Iroquois Natives in the Great Lakes region making popcorn. As colonists moved around North America and as the US came to be many people adopted popcorn as a popular and healthy snack.

The word corn in Old English meant grain or, more specifically, the most prominent grain grown in a region. When Native Americans introduce their most common grain, maize, to early Europeans, they aptly applied the word corn.

Yoder Popcorn © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As early as the 16th century, the Aztecs used popcorn in headdresses worn during ceremonies honoring Tlaloc, their god of maize and fertility. Early Spanish explorers were fascinated by the corn that burst into what looked like a white flower.

Popcorn started becoming popular in the United States in the middle 1800s. It wasn’t until Charles Cretors, a candy-store owner, developed a machine for popping corn with steam that the tasty treat became more abundantly poppable. By 1900 he had horse-drawn popcorn wagons going through the streets of Chicago.

>> Read Next: Celebrating all things Pistachio on National Pistachio Day

At about the same time, Louise Ruckheim added peanuts and molasses to popcorn to bring Cracker Jack to the world. Then in 1908, the national anthem of baseball was born. Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer wrote Take Me out to the Ballgame. From that point onward, popcorn, specifically Cracker Jack, became forever married to the game.

Yoder Popcorn © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

At the movies

Another romance connected to popcorn may have had a slow start but eventually took off. Today, who can imagine going to the movies without getting a box of buttered popcorn? While popcorn was an economical choice for snack food the expense of installing a machine and adequately venting the building didn’t seem worth the effort. If it weren’t for Glen W. Dickson, we would be purchasing our popcorn from a vendor on the street before taking in the show. Dickson put in the effort and expense of placing machines inside his theaters. After realizing how quickly he recouped his costs other theater owners followed suit.

The microwave oven spurred the next big advancement for popcorn. With the invention of the microwave, a whole new market opened for snack food. Magnetrons, a technology produced by Raytheon Manufacturing Corporation for the military during World War II were later used to develop microwave ovens. Percy Spencer was the man who made it happen. He used popcorn in his initial experiments during the microwave’s development. 

Today, Americans consume 17 billion quarts of popcorn a year, more than any other country in the world. A majority of the popcorn produced in the world is grown in the United States. Nebraska leads the Corn Belt in popcorn production.

Yoder Popcorn © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Popcorn by the numbers

  • 17 billion quarts: Amount of popcorn consumed by Americans annually
  • 70:  Percentage of popcorn eaten at home
  • 90: Percentage of unpopped popcorn sales
  • 13.5: Percentage of moisture content in popcorn
  • 31: Calories in a cup of popcorn
  • 5,000: Years popcorn has been in existence
  • 1885: First commercial popcorn machine was invented by Charles Cretors
  • 1981: Making popcorn even quicker and easier to eat, the General Mills patent for microwave popcorn bags is approved
  • 250 million: Pounds of popcorn produced in Nebraska every year (also known as the Cornhusker State, although it’s third in overall corn production)
  • 3: Feet that a single popped corn can fly when popping
  • 400°F: Ideal temperature for popping popcorn
Yoder Popcorn © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How to celebrate National Popcorn Day

Celebrating National Popcorn Day is as simple and delicious as it comes! You can start by enjoying a bag of popcorn with your favorite toppings. Pop your favorite popcorn and share a bowl with a friend.

>> Read Next: Light Your Fires on National Chili Day

Ways to enjoy popcorn: You can have it with a classic mix of butter and salt or get creative and add your favorite spices and herbs to it! There isn’t anything that doesn’t go wonderfully with it. For a light heart-healthy addition you can skip the butter and shake it down with herbs like rosemary and thyme or spice it up with cayenne. Or you can forgo the healthy options and bury it under a delicious coating of caramel and bacon and enjoy the decadence.

Yoder Popcorn © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Go global with popcorn: First made readily available in America in the early 1800s, this delightful treat has grown in popularity so that it is now a delicacy found the world over. And different places seem to enjoy their popcorn in different ways:

  • Japan: In addition to the standard ways, they appreciate flavors such as honey, milk tea, and curry
  • Europe: Enjoyed here as a sugary treat, popcorn is often sold in bags at the cinema rather than freshly popped
  • Nigeria: Best enjoyed by popping it in the microwave, a preferred flavor of popcorn here is fruit chutney
  • India: In addition to the standard butter and salt popcorn, it can be found in unique flavors such as miso soup, Thai red coconut, and anchovy garlic

Crafting with popcorn: You can also celebrate popcorn by doing crafts with it. Popcorn strings are a wonderful decoration use them to make garlands or even glue them to construction paper for a collage. String or glue popcorn onto a metal or styrofoam to make a festive popcorn wreath to welcome friends into your National Popcorn Day party. And don’t forget the paint and glitter to glitz it up even more. Popcorn can even be used as a filling for glass Christmas ornaments to make cute decorations that give a little nod to the day.

Yoder Popcorn © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Plan a movie marathon: Three weeks into January? Chances are you just want to hide and eat comfort food—but, your resolutions. There’s a win-win! Tee up your favorite Star Wars Trilogy and pop a big bowl of popcorn. You can enjoy the wisdom of Yoda and keep to your diet. (A little olive oil and salt with the carby goodness of the popcorn may just hit the spot!)

Most of the popcorn we consume is either a Butterfly (also known as snowflake) or Mushroom popcorn. Butterfly popcorn produces a fluffy, winged kernel while Mushroom popcorn produces a denser more compact kernel. While both are delicious for snacking, Mushroom popcorn holds up better to caramel, cheese, and other coatings.

Yoder Popcorn © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Yoder Popcorn

On our first visit to Amish Country in northwestern Indiana, we discovered Yoder Popcorn near Shipshewana. It has been a mandatory stop on each return visit.

In 1936, Rufus Yoder started growing popcorn on his family farm. In the Amish custom, he shared his excess crop with his neighbors and friends. They told their friends and neighbors about the excellent quality of Yoder Popcorn and soon a business was born.

After Rufus retired, his children Larry and Pauline continued to market Yoder Popcorn.

Yoder Popcorn © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In 1999, Yoder Popcorn was purchased by Rufus’ great niece, Sharon, along with her husband Richard and their youngest son, Russell, and his wife Allyse. Besides operating the Popcorn Shoppe, they farm 1,700 acres which include the acreage around the Shoppe.

>> Read Next: January 16: National Day Calendar + RVing with Rex 4th Birthday

A large variety of popcorn and related products are available at their store and on-line purchase:

  • Tiny Tender White: Very small kernel with a mild corn taste; enjoy crispy and nearly hulless popcorn
  • Baby Blue Popcorn: Tiny kernel that pops white with a dark center; sweet and crunchy with very little hull
  • Sunburst Popcorn: Large kernel with a red stripe (being that it is yellow popcorn, it will have that corn taste but with less hull than the Premium Yellow)
  • Lady Finger Microwave Popcorn: Tiniest kernel, completely hulless with a strong corn taste
  • Tiny Tender Yellow Microwave Popcorn: The ultimate in tenderness and is virtually hull-less (yellow popcorn usually pops a little bigger than white popcorn)
  • Mirowave Sample Pack: 3.5 oz. butter-flavored pouch of each of the following: 1-Yoder Premium Yellow, 1-Yoder Premium Yellow Extra Butter, 1-Yoder Premium White, 1-Yoder Yellow Tiny Tender, and 1-Yoder Premium Red
  • Gift Baskets: Price range from $6 to $62

Related popcorn days

National Caramel Popcorn Day (April 6)

Worth Pondering…

Have you ever pondered the miracle of popcorn? It starts out as a tiny, little, compact kernel with magic trapped inside that when agitated, bursts to create something marvelously desirable. It’s sort of like those tiny, little thoughts trapped inside an author’s head that―in an excited explosion of words―suddenly become a captivating fairy tale!

―Richelle E. Goodrich

17 Healthy Snacks for your Next Outdoor Adventure

Don’t forget these snacks for your next outdoor adventure

In a world of constant notifications, emails, texts, and phone calls, a camping trip can do wonders to help you disconnect. From hiking to spending quality time with friends and family, a single camping trip can be the perfect mind and body reset to help you feel relaxed, refreshed, and recharged.

But a health-boosting camping trip goes far beyond the planned activities—what you eat matters too! In this article, I’m sharing our favorite healthy camping snacks to help you come back from your outdoor adventure feeling better than ever.

Guggisberg Cheese, Holmes County, Ohio © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The summer months are great for hiking, biking, backpacking, kayaking, camping, and many other outdoor activities. You’ll need the right attire and equipment but it’s also always good to pack water and a snack even on short excursions. And not just any snack but something that will give you the energy and strength to keep going. Here are the 17 best portable snacks to fuel your outdoor adventure. (And please remember to carry out whatever you carry in!)

Willamette Cheese Company, Salem, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cheese

You’ll want protein to power your outdoor activities and cheese is a great way to get some on the go. Prepackaged cheese like those little Babybel wheels are easy to pack and unwrap anywhere and anytime or you could go with the stick varieties—they’re not just for kids’ lunches anymore! Want to get classy while camping? You can safely pack a hard cheese like aged cheddar, gouda, or Gruyère in a resealable container.

California Fruit Depot, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Dried fruit

No need to worry about your bananas getting brown or your peach getting bruised when you pack a stash of dried fruit. Plenty of options—from raisins and cranberries to mango, apricots, and berries—are available at the grocery store and they contain the same amount of nutrients as the fresh kind. 

Energy bars

CLIF, RXBAR, Larabar, and numerous other brands all make energy or protein bars that are specifically designed to fuel you with various levels and combinations of protein, carbs, calories, and nutrients. When browsing the bar aisle, be sure to read the ingredient list; the more ingredients you recognize, the better.

Galt Farmers Market, Galt, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fresh fruit

Well of course I’m not against fresh fruit. Dried fruit may be a little more portable but there’s no reason you shouldn’t pack a fresh apple, orange, watermelon (pieces, not a whole one), grapes (try freezing them!), or other juicy fruit for your outing. Even more delicate fruit would work—just pack it tightly in an airtight container. 

Don’s Specialty Market, Scott, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jerky

I’m not talking ultra-processed, chemical-packed “jerky” like Slim Jims but quality jerky that’s high in protein, vitamins, and minerals. It’s meat without the heat and most jerky varieties have a long shelf life and come in resealable packages that are perfect for on-the-go snacking. If you have a food dehydrator you can even make your jerky out of everything from beef, turkey, and venison to wild boar, ostrich, and alligator.

Eagle Ranch Pistachio, Alamogordo, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are both high in protein and easy to pack in your pack. Peanuts and almonds have the most protein in the nut category (9.5 grams and 7 grams, respectively, per ¼-cup serving) and pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds (9 grams and 6 grams, respectively, per 1-ounce serving) have the highest amounts among snackable seeds. 

Lucero Olives, Corning, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Olives

This isn’t just my crazy idea—eating olives on outdoor adventures really is a thing. In fact, some recreation stores (and grocery stores!) even sell bagged olives for bites on the go. Olives contain antioxidants and healthy fats and if you pair them with cheese, you can really class up your excursion.

Yoder Popcorn, Shipshewana, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Popcorn

Popcorn contains some protein (3 grams per ounce) and fiber (3.5 grams) and it will satisfy your hunger cravings without filling you up or slowing you down. Don’t go for the bagged varieties containing artificial ingredients—pop your own at home and put it in an airtight container to protect it from getting squished. Or pop it over a campfire!

Julia Sturgis Pretzel Factory, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pretzels

For a quick dose of carbs without a lot of calories pull out the pretzels and snack away. The bit of sprinkled salt will also help replace your body’s sodium which is a critical electrolyte lost when sweating. You can even use pretzels to scoop hummus and other healthy dips.

Galt Farmers Market, Galt, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Raw Sliced Roots

Thinly sliced raw root veggies—like sweet potato, kohlrabi, broccoli, and carrots, to name a few—can be a nice, hydrating change of pace. They provide way more nutritional value than most snacks plus they are refreshing and tasty. Another take: Cut a variety into matchsticks and mixed for a veggie trail mix. And add in some raw sweet onion slices which have the added benefit of warding off yellow-spotted lizards.

Rudy’s BBQ, Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tortillas

Tortillas are a very versatile trail food with numerous advantages. They pack easily and don’t get smashed up like bread. Wraps are less messy than sandwiches. They pair well with dips like hummus or peanut butter. Heck, you can even eat them by themselves for some quick carbs

How do you maintain carb intake without carting around a loaf of squished bread? Tortillas, my friend! They’re flat, delicious, and also flat—perfect for knapsack packing. Premade wraps—PB&J, ham and cheese, smoked salmon, whatever. In a pinch, tear off pieces of tortilla to eat plain as you go. But I’d recommend taking some refried beans along to slather—it’s a great trail-side comfort food.

Farmers and Craft Market, Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Trail mix

Okay, technically I’m cheating here as my list already contains the trail mix ingredients of nuts, dried fruit, seeds, and candy. But how could I leave off trail mix which is the quintessential on-the-go source of energy? I can’t, because I love my trail mix.

While not creative inherently, trail mixes have taken an evolutionary leap from former camping days. No longer simply peanuts, raisins, and M&Ms; oh no, we’re talking pecans, pistachios, hemp hearts, dried pineapple, and pumpkin seeds. It’s not just filler anymore, folks. These days you can make a whole meal out of this once-humble offering.

Tuna

Low in calories but high in protein (not to mention heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids), tuna can be a fantastic food for the trail, mountain, and water adventures. Not only is it good for you but it also has a long shelf life. And if opening a can and mixing up some tuna sounds like too much work on the go, you can even buy pre-mixed pouches in the store.

Galt Farmers Market, Galt, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Vegetables

Celery, cucumber, carrots, cauliflower, bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes…they’re all full of vitamins, minerals, and water which you’ll definitely want a lot of. Most veggies are about 90 percent water so you might want to put a damp paper towel in the bag or container. If you’ve brought a bunch and don’t want them crunched, try packing them in your cooking gear.

Dehydrated Everything

There are two factors that limit outdoor foods: perishability and space. Fortunately, nearly every food out there can be dehydrated and though it doesn’t always improve the food it does negate those two elements. It can also be done cheaply without a professional-grade dehydrator if you’re crafty and willing to put the work in.

Amish Acres, Nappanee, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pepperoni

Pepperoni starts out as ground pork, beef, or a mixture of the two. Producers then add paprika which helps give the sausage its characteristic deep red hue as well as garlic and other aromatics like fennel seeds to up the flavor factor. Once it’s packaged into sausages, the mixture is aged for several days before being smoked and dried. 

This versatile ingredient presents a whole world of possibilities just waiting to be discovered.

California Fruit Depot, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fruit and Veggie Chips

The chip is a perfect vessel for trail snacking—non-perishable, delicious, and simple. But greasy chips mid-hike is asking for trouble. There are healthy alternatives with all those benefits; try dried or baked fruit and veggie chips. Countless recipes are available in hundreds of creative flavorings and varieties.

Truthfully, staying on top of your diet can be life or death, so carefully consider what you’re taking along. If you’re used to hiking with potato chips and oreos, try some of these alternatives instead — you may be surprised how much it improves your adventure.

Worth Pondering…

I hope you dance because…

Time.

Time is a wheel.

Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along.

Tell me, who wants to look back on their years and wonder where their years have gone.

—Mark D. Sanders and Tia Sillers, I Hope You Dance