Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Tradition of Lard and Sugar

You know what is really working for me today? One word - PACZKI. That would be this beauty, right here -
For those of you that have no idea what I am talking about, I'll give a brief rundown. Paczki, pronounced punch-key, are a Polish treat traditionally served the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (also known as Fat Tuesday). They are similar to jelly donuts, although traditional Paczki are larger, denser and filled with more jelly. And they are outrageously delicious!
Being that both of my parents are Polish, and my grandparents were/are staunchly and proudly Polish, we celebrated all of the Polish traditions. I remember coming home from school on the Monday before Paczki day to excitedly look at the selections my grandpa had bought for us from a Polish bakery. We all had our favorites, and somehow my grandpa always remembered which ones we liked best. My favorites were (and still are) blueberry or lemon glazed Paczki.
The story I was always told about the origin of Paczki day is a favorite of mine. In the days leading up to Lent and a time of fasting, Polish women spent a lot of time using up heavy foods that they were not allowed to eat during this time. Paczki were a perfect option because they use a LOT of lard and sugar. (On the news a few years ago, I heard that a traditional Paczki has more fat and calories then 2 Big Macs.)
In order to keep with the tradition, and pass it on to my children, I selflessly put aside my dieting and forced myself to indulge in one (or 3 or 4) paczki today. And it absolutely worked for me.

Now, I would love to know how many of you have heard of/partake in the paczki ritual? Or, is there another cultural treat you enjoy on this day?

Stop by the new Works For Me Wednesday home at We Are THAT Family.

10 comments:

Amiyrah 10:15 PM  

Hi Kate,

Just wanted to let you know that I featured your blog(s) on my Blog Spotlight Series. I think I let you know in your former post, but I wanted to make sure you were able to see the post and comment, if necessary.

BTW, I'd never heard of those yummy pastries! Fat Tuesday is usually the day I make beignets or jambalaya, but national pancake day trumped all of those lol.

Amy @ Finer Things 10:19 PM  

Never, ever heard of it. Do we live in the same country? LOL

Terry 10:57 PM  

Hi Kate
I have just been following your blog a few weeks. thought I would jump in here and say that Paczkis are HUGE here in the Detroit area. It is a tradition followed by all races, religions, ethnicity and ages. They are sold everywhere and are in everyone's workplaces and homes. My personal favorite is the cream cheese filled, but any flavor will do! I hear one calling me know from my kitchen...

Louise 12:25 AM  

Oooh, this sounds like a tradition I want to start at my house! Those look so yummy!

Puts the "fat" in Fat Tuesday, doesn't it?

Kristi 8:26 AM  

Yesterday was the first time I had actually had one. It really was a Fat Tuesday for us. Let the fasting begin!

Anonymous,  9:04 AM  

I am PA Dutch and we have fasnacht day. Similar concept. It is a lightly sweet donought like treat. We eat with heavy syrup.

Jessica :) 9:18 AM  

I've been following your blog for about a week or so now and this is my first comment (I'm kinda slow sometimes). I've never heard of Paczkis and I've never even done anything to celebrate "Fat Tuesday." Right now, I feel really lame.

shopannies 12:21 PM  

never heard of this but looks great

Your Frugal Friend, Niki 5:26 PM  

Wow.

I so want one! Or two!

:)

Jessica 8:29 PM  

Those look so yummy! I'd never heard of them until this year (in NC), but everyone's talking about them this year.

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