Happy Fat Tuesday to all, or as I grew up knowing it as, Paczki Day!
Each year, my dear Polish relatives needed to find a way to use up all of the sugar, lard and butter in the house before lent started. To do this, they developed the paczek. A dense, fried doughnut stuffed with fruit, cream or anything else you can think up. The original mixture was prune, but then moved to raspberry jelly, custard, and all sorts of other fruits like lemon, blueberry, strawberry, cherry.
Like everything else in America, Paczki Day has been eaten up by Corporate America, and in midwest neighborhoods, you can find paczki at any Kroger, Meijer or other chain grocery store. But of course, just throwing an “authentic” label on the box doesn’t mean a whole lot. And frankly, they suck and are a waste of calories.
But what aren’t a waste of calories are the real deal. For years, when I lived in Michigan, we would go to the neighborhood, Vinewood Bakery. Sadly, last fall, after 90 years in business, they were forced to shut their doors. But the story doesn’t end there.
As my mother was planning her trip to DC over Presidents Day weekend, she stumbled into a new bakery in Riverview. While ordering a loaf of bread, she made the connection that many of the employees seemed to be the same from the old bakery. And low and behold, they are, and the company decided to give a new venture a shot. But the real news came when they announced they’d be frying paczki for the special obesity celebration day.
So Happy Paczki Day to me! Mother brought me 16 of them… now I know that is a bit rediculous, but to be fair, I only ate about 10, so I did share.
Till next year, happy eating all you paczki fiends!