Paczki: A Pre-Lenten Pig-Out


Have you had your paczki yet? Today's the day. I say 'paunch-key' with the accent on 'paunch'. Which is what will expand if you eat enough of these Polish pastries.  Being of Polish descent, I almost feel an ethnic compulsion to partake.

My mother---rest her soul--- made the best paczki.  And I don't say that out of a sense of filial loyalty. They were scrumptious. I remember her dropping the irregular spheres of dough---no two were alike--- into a pot of oil. Hearing the sizzle and crackle. Watching her scoop them out and align them  on a platter to cool.  She didn't plug them with jelly or jam. As far as I recall. She sugar-powdered them , and then  let us swill. It was not an ascetic moment.  Lent--- only hours away---would have plenty of those.

Last week, I bought some paczki---there are actually two Paczki Days before Ash Wednesday: Fat Thursday and Fat Tuesday.  They were from one of the best bakeries on the Southwest side. Bloated with filling(strawberry and apricot jelly), they were big disappointments. In my opinion, the dough makes the paczki: fresh, soft, and succulent.

Not many foods have a day named for them. Does  France have a Quiche Day?   Or Germany  a Wiener Schnitzel Day?  Whatever.   All I know is, if I go by the batches my sainted mother used to make,  Paczki truly deserves the distinction.

Filed under: Family Life, Food

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