Second Series.

Doughnuts. In the nineteenth century, Americans universally ate fresh-picked natural doughnuts; but the artificial “donuts” we see in bakeries today bear only a superficial resemblance to the hollow nuts of the native dough trees of the Allegheny Mountains, which most consumers have probably never even seen except in pictures.


  1. Clay Potts says:

    I grew up in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, at the foot of a large, old dough tree, and I can still remember those crisp late Autumn mornings, the yard full of freshly fallen doughnuts, their tops covered, like confectioner’s sugar, with a light coating of frost.

    And, how the doughnuts would also fall on our driveway, and Dad would run them over with the tires of his car, and how the flattened nuts would resemble bear claws; we can laugh about it now, but how angry it would make him!

    Ah, what cherished memories, these are…

  2. Martin the Mess says:

    That stray N in the first word of the article suggests an altogether different flavor of donut. Dungnut?

  3. RepubAnon says:

    Alas, as the Doughnut Tree flowers could only be fertilized by Passenger Pigeons, the species is almost extinct in the wild.

  4. Dr. Boli says:

    Ordinarily Dr. Boli hates to correct a misprint once it has been commented on; it feels as though one is rudely interrupting the discussion. In this case, he felt obliged to correct the keyword of the article, but readers should understand that it originally read “Dounghnuts,” and it was that misprint that provoked the comment from “Martin the Mess” above.

  5. Clay Potts says:

    I have always wondered, how many passengers could a passenger pigeon pass if a passenger pigeon could pass passengers?

  6. Colonel Swenson says:

    As I recall from my high school horticulture class, the Doughnut Tree is the New World relative of the Pasta Tree of Italy, only a few surviving example of which may be found in the Piedmont region. Our class viewed a film documentary produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation on the harvesting of spaghetti noodles from those noble plants.

  7. Captain DaFt says:

    I’m rather surprised that neither Dr. Boli nor any of the previous respondents touched upon a rather peculiar myth about the Doughnut Tree.
    The story goes that anyone using a Doughnut Tree as shelter from the wind would find themselves unable to commit a falsehood.
    Thus when anyone was suspected of prevarication, they would recieve the admonition; “Doughnut lee to me!”

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