Happy Paczki Day! (You Might Just Be Eating A Donut)

If you are not from an area with a large population of Polish immigrants, you probably have no idea what the title of this post means. In that case, allow me to wish you a Happy Fat Tuesday! and allow you to get back to baring your breasts for plastic beads.

For the rest of you stuck in climes where it is WAY too cold to engage in such behavior, allow me to clear a few things up for you. Some of this has already appeared in the comments sections of various people’s Facebook pages today, but for the sake of clarity and completeness I am going to throw it all up on the blog right now.

Paczki are traditionally eaten on Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday if you prefer. This is the last day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. For those who observe, it is the last day to really enjoy eating stuff because you are going to spend the next 40 days fasting in one way or another.

Paczki are Polish pastries which resemble hockey puck shaped donuts on steroids. They are usually fried in lard, dusted in sugar, and filled with some sort of sweet filling, and are made with a high-octane alcohol known as Spiritus. If what you are shoving in your mouth doesn’t look like this, it’s a donut in disguise.

Fun Facts:

Most paczki contain between 700 and 1200 calories. Calorically speaking a donut is to a paczek as an 8 oz ribeye is to a Wagon Wheel Side O’ Beef from an eating challenge show on the Food Network.

Traditional fillings include prune and rose-hip jelly. Chocolate cream, lemon, apple, raspberry…those are all donut fillings that have been injected into the paczki process.

Paczki is the plural form of the word paczek. If you are saying Paczkis you sound like an idiot.

It is pronounced “POONCH kee” not PAC-zek, PAHK-zeek or any similar such nonsense.

Pajetski is right out.

I am a heritage heretic in that despite my genetic background, I find the things pretty damned repellent.

One year I was downriver with my good friend Uncle Jer on Paczki Day. We walked into a Yum Yum Tasty Donuts
4. The person behind the counter bore a striking resemblance to what I assume Flo from Mel’s Diner would look like if she were 180 but dyed giant beehive bouffant red. The lady directly in front of us had the typical missing-tooth, cousin-lovin,’ slack-jawed-yokel look one would expect, right down to the bathroom slippers and the hair curlers. This is an actual, word for word transcript of the discussion between the Slack Jawed Yokel (SJF) and the Flo-like Counterperson (Flo)

SJF: What’s with the line?

Flo: People picking up their orders (Pointing to a sign which read HAPPY PACZKI DAY!)

SJF: What the Hell is a Pah-jet-ski?

Flo: It’s pronounced “punch-key.”

SJF: What is it?

Flo: It’s a Polack thing. Today is Polack Day.

SJF: Polack Day? (her voice rising in indignation). Well when the Hell is Hillbilly Day.

Flo: Sugar, EVERY day is Hillbilly Day.

I wish I was making that up.

1 Apologies to anyone who feels like they might chunder because they overindulged in the paczki eating today.

2 Or just giving up something until Easter.

3 I always observe Lent by giving up religious observances.

4 Honest to Shoggoth, that was the name of the joint.