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Wearing Lipstick to War or why it’s National Doughnut Day

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Today is National Doughnut Day.  For those who fret over obesity in America this may seem distasteful.  I can sympathize–our family recently adopted a rule that junk food is ok if you make it from scratch at home, but we’re increasingly moving away from highly-processed tasty things to real-food really tasty things.  That’s just how we roll the doughnut hole.

(In case you are interested, here’s Alton Brown’s doughnut recipe from his 2004 episode of Good Eats, “Circle of Life”:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/yeast-doughnuts-recipe/index.html)

But, National Doughnut Day is not really about eating fatty, doughy, calorie-laden tastiness.  Did you know that?  It is actually a bizarre addition to our Memorial Day celebrations.  I’m not kidding.  It is a creation of the Salvation Army in recognition of the front-line coffee and doughnut services provided by some Red Cross women during World War I and again in World War II.  It began in 1938.  No, seriously.

It’s about the history, not the calories!

Doughnut and coffee duty was an important morale duty for certain Red Cross women stationed amongst the homesick American troops in England during World War II.  They were carefully selected for the duty based on the right look, slang, and cocktail..er..coffee and doughnut conversation (you know, baseball, apple pie, Bob Hope, swing music, and so forth).  They were assigned in trios to the Clubmobile that visited the troops.  Clubmobilers were proud of their duty and the GIs lapped them up with coffee and doughnuts, obviously.

Get the full story about these select women from the National Archives-published magazine, The Prologue, here: Wearing Lipstick to War.  It’s fascinating stuff (good old fashioned American stereotypes and sexism, etc.)!  Actually, it is pretty interesting that it follows on the heals of Memorial Day, no?

In the meantime, have a wonderful Homer Simps–d’oh!–I mean a wonderful National Doughnut Day!  And, remember it’s about the history, not the calories!

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