Donut Facts and FAQs


The donut has existed since the beginning of time.  So long that archaeologists continue to unearth fossilized bits of what look to be donuts in the middens of prehistoric Native American settlements.  The donut as we know and love it, supposedly came to Manhattan (New Amsterdam at the time) under the Dutch name ‘olykoeks’ or “oily cakes”.

In early colonial times, US Dutch immigrants discovered fried cake.  So the story goes, a cow kicked a pot of boiling oil over some pastry mix, thus inventing the golden brown delight.  Apparently, they didn’t share this discovery with their homeland and the fried cakes became a staple in the harsh conditions that existed in the colony.

Around 1847, Elizabeth Gregory, a New England ship captain’s mother, made a deep-fried dough that used her son’s spice cargo of nutmeg, cinnamon, and lemon rind.  She made the deep fried cakes for son Hansen and his crew so they could store the pastry on long voyages…and to help ward off scurvy and colds.  Mrs. Gregory put hazel nuts or walnuts in the center, where the dough might not cook through, and called them doughnuts.

Hansen always took credit for the hole in the doughnut.  Some doughnut historians think that Hansen was a bit of a cheapskate and was just trying to save on food costs.  Others say that he gave the doughnut its first hole when, in the middle of a terrible storm and in order to get both hands on the ship’s wheel, he crammed one of his mother’s fried sensations onto one of the wooded spokes of the wheel.  Yet another tale claims that he decided, after a visit from an angel, that the doughy center of the fried cakes had to go.

Her son Hanson presented “his” creation to the people who apparently sang and danced for days in praise of the best fried cake they had ever tasted.  Is the doughnut heavenly food?  17th century America thought so, but unfortunately Hanson was eventually burnt at the stake for being a witch in the mid-19th century.  Today, the town of Clam Cove, Maine has a plaque in honor of Captain Hanson Gregory, the man who invented the hole in the donut.

In the Middle of World War I, millions of homesick American “doughboys” were served up countless doughnuts by women volunteers, trying to give the soldiers a taste of home.

The first doughnut machine was invented in 1920, in New York City, by a man named Adolph Levitt, a refugee from czarist Russia.  Levitt’s doughnut machine was a huge hit causing doughnuts to spread like wildfire.

Mel-O-Cream Donuts was founded in 1932 by Kelly Grant Sr., who provided fresh delicious donuts to restaurants and corner grocery stores. 

Doughnuts became beloved.  Legend says that dunking donuts first became a trend when actress Mae Murray accidentally dropped a donut in her coffee one day at Lindy’s Deli on Broadway.  In the 1934 film It Happened One Night newspaperman Clark Gable teaches young runaway heiress Claudette Corbet how to “dunk”.  In 1937 a popular song proclaimed that you can live on coffee and doughnuts if “you’re in love”.

During World War II, Red Cross women, known as Doughnut Dollies passed out hot doughnuts to the hard fighting soldiers.  Today, in the United States alone, over 10 billion doughnuts are made every year.


Donut FAQs


Mel-O-Cream finished donuts can only be purchased at one of the Franchise locations in Springfield, IL or Lincoln, IL.  Otherwise Mel-O-Cream products are used in grocery chains, retail bakeries, convenience stores and restaurants throughout the Mid-west United States.  You may be eating Mel-O-Cream right now!


Pronounced “poonch-key” or “punch-key”.  Tradition has it, these plump, sugar coated, filled Polish treats are to be served up every year on “Fat Tuesday,” the day before Lent, as a last chance splurge on something sinfully rich before fasting.


The name originated from the “secret formula” base originally known as Cream that was used in the original franchise donut.  As for the Mel-O portion of the name, it is unknown where the name originated.  Some say that eating a Mel-O-Cream donut is a form of relaxation and it can “mellow” you out on a busy morning!


Currently, we are not in the franchising business.


Prefried donuts offer standardized quality and allow for less variance on the finished product.  They also provide savings in the form of less training, labor, equipment costs and preparation time.  It can take as little as 30 minutes from the freezer to the customer!


Frozen dough products offer more individual control of the finished product.  A basic product line can be used to produce a larger variety including specialty donuts, breakfast rings, coffee cakes, pull-apart breads and seasonal or event shapes.