Before Homer Simpson sold his soul to the devil for a doughnut in the '90s, a much more dashing American celebrity secured the fried food's place in our cultural archives.

June 12, 2015

In this series, we reveal the secrets, histories and quirky bits of trivia behind your favorite foods.

Before Homer Simpson sold his soul to the devil for a doughnut in the '90s, a much more dashing American celebrity secured the fried food's place in our cultural archives.

In 1934's romantic comedy It Happened One Night, a straight-shooting reporter (played by Clark Gable) teaches a spoiled heiress (Claudette Colbert) the fine art of doughnut dunking over breakfast: “Don’t let it soak so long. It’s all a matter of timing.” (“Dunking’s an art,” he says. “I ought to write a book about it." And then they fall in love.)

The history of the doughnut dunk is not without controversy. While some maintain that silent film star Mae Murray accidentally discovered its deliciousness when she dropped her cruller in her coffee at a Broadway deli, it was Gable's silver screen how-to that undoubtedly inspired a nation of dunkers.

For a perfect summer doughnut-coffee pairing, try this old-school doughnut with refreshing iced coffee.

Want more fun food trivia? Follow F&W's @fwscout for #DailyWordWizard tweets.

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