The question as to why doughnuts have holes has been raised by dozens of bakers over the years, but most agree that the answer to this sticky question lies in the fact that the interior of these fried cakes would not cook fully without a hole in the center. In short, the consistency of a doughnut lacking a hole would be, quite simply, doughy.
Another riveting theory as to the origin of the bulls eye in the doughnut holds that a sea captain named Hanson Gregory, while manning his post one stormy night, found it impossible both to steer his vessel and to eat his fried cake. Out of sheer frustration, and probably out of hunger, he impaled his cake over one of the spokes of the ship's wheel, thereby creating a finger hold with which to grip the cake. Quite pleased with his ingenuity, Mr. Gregory ordered the galley's cook to fry the cakes in that manner henceforth.
Whatever the reason for the hole in the doughnut, this fried cake, with or without a hole, has been incorporated into the diets of people throughout the world for centuries. In fact, archaeologists found petrified fried cakes with holes amongst the artifacts of a primitive Indian tribe.
Many credit Dutch settlers to America with introducing the non-holed olykoeks, or "oily cakes," to this continent, and with their subsequent popularity.
There is no disputing the fact that the fried cake became the rage in New York and in New England, and that before long, it became the specialty of coffee shops. Fried cakes came into their own in 1673, when a self-made New York marketing guru, Anna Joralemon, made their purchase at the market possible.
To this day, doughnuts, in any shape or form, remain married in our minds to coffee and police officers, and are here to stay.