I was recently reminded of the tedium of shopping with my mother. I looked forward to the end of the day, when she would treat me to a Mayflower donut. I never tired of pondering the card propped on every table:
As you ramble on through life, brother,
Whatever be your goal,
Keep your eye upon the doughnut
And not upon the hole.
Simpler times. Yes, that’s the way we used to spell “donut”!
In 1931 this verse was adopted by Adolph Levitt, an immigrant from Russia who invented the first automatic donut making machine, for his Mayflower Donuts chain of shops. He had the adage printed on every donuts box, showing two men dressed as old-fashioned jesters, facing away from each other. One was smiling at a fat doughnut with a small hole and the other was frowning at a thin doughnut with a large hole.
Cool Culinaria recounts the history of the credo.