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Found in the Morgue: Efforts to Elevate the Humble Doughnut

Sep 30, 2010 2:30 PM | 1 comment

The humble doughnut is often considered lowly food in the landscape of American snacks. During the 1940s and 1950s several efforts were made to elevate the status of the doughnut, and the Morgue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle records these efforts well. Following are three examples found in the Morgue photo files.

In 1955, Miss America's Wanda Jennings was the spokesperson for a nationwide campaign to "encourage housewives to serve families more nutritious snacks." Doughnuts and milk were promoted as "Wholesome Pals" -- "a good nutritious food and all important mid-morning or midday snack."

Socialite and entertainer, Elsa Maxwell, world famous for her high-class parties, was pictured in the act of "dunking a doughnut thereby removing the social stigma in her select circle and changing the art of dunking from a secret vice to an advertised art." Her public doughnut dunking was one of the highlights of the 1941 meeting of the National Dunking Association.

Brooklyn's own Janice Gilman was selected as the National Doughnut Party Queen in 1954 at the Hotel Roosevelt. The National Party Committee launched a nationwide campaign to "cement home ties and keep children off the streets by promoting home doughnut parties." The National Doughnut Party Queen planned to tour the nation, urging the public to hold more and better home parties. "Doughnut dunking," she said, "is better than street fighting." 



10/7/2010 5:27:28 PM #

The National Donut Party? I'd vote for them. But keeping kids of the street? Only if Miss Gilman comes over in that donuty get-up....

Cf. the Shop Around the Corner and It Happened One Night for the great examples of the cultural & class significance of dunking donuts.