Were Doughnut Holes Invented in Maine?
Did you know Maine was the home to a culinary hero? The story is that sea captain Hanson Gregory of Rockport invented the ever-delicious bite-sized doughnut hole.
According to legend, back in the 1800's, the teenager would stick the fried balls of dough on the handles of his ship's wheel for convenient snacking.
Gregory did an interview with the Washington Post in 1916 and revealed he was inspired to solve an indigestion issue,
I guess it was about '47, when I was 16, that I was aboard ship and discovered the hole which was later to revolutionize the doughnut industry...Now in them days we used to cut the doughnuts into diamond shapes, and also into long strips, bent in half, and then twisted. I don't think we called them doughnuts then--they was just 'fried cakes' and 'twisters.' Well, sir, they used to fry all right around the edges, but when you had the edges done the insides was all raw dough. And the twisters used to sop up all the grease just where they bent, and they were tough on the digestion. Pretty d--d tough, too!...Well, I says to myself, 'Why wouldn't a space inside solve the difficulty?' I thought at first I'd take one of the strips and roll it around, then I got an inspiration, a great inspiration. I took the cover off the ship's tin pepper box, and--I cut into the middle of that doughnut the first hole ever seen by mortal eyes!...No more indigestion--no more greasy sinkers--but just well-done, fried-through doughnuts.
There's currently a plaque in honor of Gregory at his birthplace which is now home to the Nativity Lutheran Church. You can see the plaque at 179 Old County Rd, Rockport, ME.