My dear friend Laurie F. asked me what this word was…Paczki. Let me explain.
A PACZKI is a deep-fried piece of dough shaped into a flattened sphere and filled with cheese or other sweet filling. Lemon, strawberry, prune, vanilla custard, chocolate custard, peach…oh the fillings go on and on!!! Then the Pączki are covered with powdered sugar, icing, or just rolled in sugar or bits of dried orange zest.
In the large Polish community of Chicago, Pączki Day is celebrated annually by immigrants and locals alike. Chicago celebrates the festival of Fat Tuesday by eating these yummy donut-like treats.
Chicago has the largest population of Poles in the U.S., second only to Warsaw. The Poles have introduced us to a cuisine that is loved by all Chicagoans. The small city I live in (pop 14,000) has two polish bakeries, two Polish delis, a small grocery store plus a large grocery store mostly dedicated to European patrons in the area.
So, Fat Tuesday is a day to stuff yourself silly until you are nauseous. Generally everyone buys these gastrointestinal bombs by the dozens, in this house we cut them in half so we can sample more of the decadent fillings. Then……you drink Pepto Bismol.
There is nothing better that going into a delicious smelling bakery on Fat Tuesday and smiling at the Ladies who talk to you in Polish…all you do is point and they box them up!
Wikipedia was used for some of the information in this post.
Today is Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday which is the day before Lent begins. For anyone who grew up Catholic you know what Lent means…you gotta give up something that you love. When we were kids it was with great thought that we picked our “sacrifice” because yours had to be better than anyone else’s. For weeks you would fret over your “give up” and compare notes with everybody else. You had to be the best, it had to be something that would make your friends mouths fall open.
Of course, when you would quiz your Mom for suggestions on a good “give up” for Lent, she would always suggest something uninspiring and boring like
- Quit fighting with your brothers and sisters
- Help around the house more
- Be obedient
- No sassy talk
- Do a good deed everyday
None of the above are jaw-dropping enough to be the one….you needed drama….you needed ”kneel on dried peas everyday” drama.
I think I gave up candy every year. We never had candy in the house because we couldn’t afford it according to my Mom. We couldn’t give up sweets, because there was always cake, my Mom was a big cake baker. To this day I love cake, any kind of cake, any flavor of cake. I LOVE CAKE. (Thanks Mom)
Lent is sort of like your News Year’s Resolution Do-Over. You have a second chance to give up sweets, stop smoking, cut back on caffeine, exercise everyday or whatever resolution you have not followed through on.
The best part of Fat Tuesday, no question…… is Paczki.
Tomorrow I will go into detail on these gastrointestinal nightmares that will have you running for your bottle of Pepto Bismol