Donuts (or doughnuts, if you prefer) are tasty pastries, deep-fried fluffy or cake type, covered in frosting, or not.
The canonical donut is a torus; an inner tube or wheel shape, a ring with a hole in the middle. The round nuggets called “donut holes” are, therefore, the bit of a donut punched out of the middle.
But donuts can be other shapes. Two bits of dough twisted or braided and then fried can also be found on donut trays, in donut cases, or in donut shops around the globe. Sweet rolls, without a hole in the middle at all, are also called donuts. Round puck shapes, filled with custard or fruit jam, are likewise donuts, without any hole. And apple fritters, lumpy and irregularly shaped, are also commonly called “donuts”.
All of which leads me to a question, on I have pondered for nearly as long as I have eaten and loved donuts themselves:
What kind of “nut” is a donut supposed to resemble?
Is it the nut that you’d screw onto a bolt?
Or a nut that you’d pluck from a tree?
Is this a binary choice? Is it one or the other? Or has the lineage of the suffix “-nut” passed beyond the word it was derived from, so that “donut” no longer has a connection to its root word?