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What is the history of the doughnut? The doughnut has been around since the early 1800s, when a woman named Elizabeth Gregory made a deep-fried dough treat that she called "doughnuts" for her son, Hanson Gregory, who was a sea captain. Hanson is credited with inventing the hole in the middle of the doughnut. He said he did this so that the doughnuts would cook more evenly. In the late 1800s, a New England ship captain named Captain Gregory created the first recipe for doughnuts. His recipe included nutmeg and cinnamon, and the doughnuts were fried in pork fat, making them much sweeter than their modern-day counterparts. By the early 1900s, doughnuts had become popular in the United States, and they were often served at church socials and political events. During World War I, soldiers were given doughnuts as a treat. Today, doughnuts are sold in many varieties and are popular in many countries around the world.