I'm sure that some of you know that today is Fat Tuesday-the "last" day to pig out before the 40 days of Lent. Here in Michigan (and I'm sure a few other pockets of the mid-west), it is also Pączki Day, a day where we all make a mad run to bakeries to pick up our Pączki.
After asking on Twitter yesterday and seeing that hardly anyone knew what a pączki was, I figured I might as well let you know, in case you ever find yourself up here on Fat Tuesday in the future. :) A pączki is a Polish pastry, very similar to a doughnut, that is filled with fruit or cream. They are different than jelly-filled doughnuts because of the ingredients to make the dough. These contain eggs, sugar, milk, as well as various kinds of fat (think lots of butter and lard). Many times, they are rolled around in sugar. They are far richer than a doughnut and MUCH bigger. These things pack some serious calories, but since you only eat them one day a year, that's not too bad, right? :)
From what I've read online, pączki are big in places where there are large Polish communities in the United States. Hamtramck, an area in Detroit, is a Polish-American center, so I have grown up with the tradition. My mom would always buy us a big box of pączki to celebrate the day, and I always ate my pączki in place of a meal (they can be over 500 calories each with 27 grams of fat!).
In Poland, they are typically eaten on Fat Thursday-the last Thursday before Ash Wednesday-to rid the house of anything fatty in preparation for Lent. The idea is that you would be fasting for much of the time during Lent, so it was best to get rid of these kinds of temptations before the 40 days started. Here in the United States, we eat them on Fat Tuesday as a last hurrah before fasting for Lent. Now, I'm sure that many people around here eat them because they are just plain delicious and not for the religious history. But I do think it is a great way to celebrate a little Old World Tradition....while eating something insanely delicious and fattening.
There is also a celebratory parade down in Hamtramck today, and I am sure there are all kinds of other Polish yummies waiting to be eaten (pierogies anyone?). As for myself, I'm going to be walking down to the bakery in our little downtown area to pick up my order of pączki. I'm glad I ordered them ahead of time, since sometimes there are huge lines!
Anyone else know about pączki? I'm led to believe it is a mid-west thing, but I'd love to know if anyone else is eating one today!
I grew up Catholic and we always did Lent (I don't as an adult as I avoid Catholiscism like the plague), but we never celebrated any form of Fat Tuesday. The Catholic churches in this area would have discouraged it as a kind of cheating. But we also didn't give up the things that Fat Thursday was originally meant to use up, all that lard and sugar and stuff. We just didn't eat meat on Fridays and we each had to give up something individual and specific.ReplyDelete
On a completely separate note, I always held a grudge against Ash Wednesday because it often took place on my birthday (March 1), and against Lent because my mom always gave up chocolate which meant that she could never participate in my birthday celebrations...
Those paczki sound so good, especially the cream-filled kind. I wish we had some around here.
I have never heard of paczki but now I really really really want one! Oh my gosh, they sound delicious! In the UK today we have pancake day, where, you know, we eat pancakes, which I guess was to use up all the milk and eggs before Lent... But now it's just like a 'mmmmmmm pancakes!' day :)ReplyDelete
I love paczki! I didn't find out about them until I dated someone who with a Polish heritage in Northeastern Ohio. But another reason they would use up the lard, etc. is so it wouldn't spoil, not just because of the temptation.ReplyDelete
My husband grew up in Toledo, Ohio, which also has a large Polish community. He's the one who told me about paczkis. We are hard pressed to find them here in Florida. Last year we bought a box from our local supermarket bakery, but my husband said they were not authentic - too much like doughnuts. I'm excited to someday try a real paczki. Enjoy!ReplyDelete
I had my paczki today-so delicious. For Amanda; my birthday also always falls during Lent, March 30th. My Mom always allowed a pass for lent on my Birthday. So anything we had given up-sweets, cakes, ice cream etc. was forgiven for that day, because it was my special day. We would have home made chocolate cake and ice cream-a real treat back then. What was nice, my sister also had her birthday during lent-so we actually had two "pass" days.ReplyDelete
Chicago, being both located in the midwest and home to the largest Polish-American population, is definitely a Pączki kinda town. Unfortunately, I've given up all kinds of excessive indulgences - I don't even have my yearly Cinnabon at Christmas every year, anymore. :(ReplyDelete
Bought some paczki for the people at work today. We cut them in quarters so everyone could sample different varieties. I had a taste of raspberry, apricot, buttercream, and cherry. Next year I'm going to order a dozen!ReplyDelete
I'm from the Pennsylvania Dutch area and we have something that sounds pretty similar to your paczki, we eat fasnachts, which are similar to doughnuts and normally uncoated or coated with powdered sugarReplyDelete
I've never heard of paczki, but I don't really know anyone of Polish descent. (Wait--I went to school with someone whose mom immigrated from Poland--how did I not hear about them from her???) They sound decadently delicious, though.ReplyDelete
I've lived in Michigan my whole life. I look forward to pazcki day. My cousin lived in North Carolina last year. The bakery's looked at her like she was nuts when asked about paczki's. I over nighted her a dozen. Her daughter had to have the Polish experience. I have to say that I've tried paczki's from Michigan (of course) and Chicago. The Chigaco ones were heavy and dry. I'll stick with the Michigan made ones :0).ReplyDelete
Oh my! The paczkis sound delicious!!!ReplyDelete
We have them here in eastern Ohio, too. Delicious!! The bakery in one of our grocery stores makes especially delicious ones. I prefer the Bavarian cream filled ones. And then for Lent a couple of the local churches sell pierogies every Friday, also not to be missed.ReplyDelete