Doughnuts have a disputed history. 🍩
Or at least that's the first line on Wikipedia, so you know this has got to be good.
In the US, one man lays claim to the round doughnut with the hole in the middle: Captain Hanson Gregory. He claimed to have invented it aboard his ship on June 22, 1847 (yes, specifically).
Gregory recalls this because he wanted to get rid of "those greasy sinkers"—doughnuts without holes. Gregory wrote into the Washington Post in 1916 to convey the eureka moment:
"Well, I says to myself, ‘Why wouldn’t a space inside solve the difficulty?’ I thought at first I’d take one of the strips and roll it around, then I got an inspiration, a great inspiration. I took the cover off the ship’s tin pepper box, and—I cut into the middle of that doughnut the first hole ever seen by mortal eyes!"