Posted by Pitco ● May 28, 2021 2:17:00 PM

A Story of Service from Pitco

Memorial Day

As an American company that makes American products, we'd like to take this opportunity to thank our amazing veterans and to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Though Memorial Day is the time we officially remember the fallen and thank our veterans, we remember their service every day.

Here at Pitco, we've taken that a little further. Not only do we believe in American engineering and manufacturing, we also believe in hiring veterans in our company to help design, build, market and sell our line of fryers. We're here to support our vets in sentiment and as an American manufacturer.

The Story of Doughnuts and World War One

Everyone likes a good donut. Well, most people like donuts, and that was no different in the early 1900s. As detailed in Smithsonian Magazine, when the women of the Salvation Army volunteered to join the front lines of World War I, they needed more than the gas masks and revolvers. They also needed flour, sugar, rolling pins, and yes, fryers.

Four of the women, just miles from the trenches in Eastern France, dedicated their time to help American soldiers remember the joys from home. Some conducted religious services, while others played music. Hot chocolate and even fudge was made and passed out amongst the ranks. And then two of the women had an idea that went one step further.


Margaret Sheldon and Helen Purviance collected any unused dough from the rations and used shell casings and wine bottles as rolling pins. They used an upsidedown helmet filled with lard as a fryer, and eventually they found a way to cut the dough into more conventional donut shapes -- an empty condensed milk can.

“Well can you think of two women cooking, in one day, 2,500 doughnuts, eight dozen cupcakes, fifty pies, 800 pan cakes and 255 gallons of cocoa, and one other girl serving it. That is a day’s work,” Purviance wrote in a letter home. And their service had an impact.

“Before the war I felt that the Salvation Army was composed of a well-meaning lot of cranks. Now what help I can give them is theirs,” wrote Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., son of the former president, after serving in France.

The enduring legacy of these Salvation Army Lassies lives on today. Every year, we celebrate National Doughnut Day on the first Friday in June in their honor.

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Topics: Foods & Trends