If you're not of Polish descent, or don't live in a geographic area where the day is celebrated you may be wondering, "What is Paczki Day?"
I'm not of Polish descent, but many residents in Southeastern Michigan are, and particularly in the Metro-Detroit area.
Paczki Day [aka Fat Tuesday] is the feast of plenty before the Lenten fast begins for Polish Roman Catholics, the day before Ash Wednesday.
On this day traditional deep fried pastries [similar to jelly doughnuts] are enjoyed. Paczki is the plural noun for these pastries, and is pronounced "punch-key." The reason for making paczki was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house because they couldn't be eaten during Lent.
Whether a Polish Roman Catholic or not, people know a good holiday when they taste it! I stood in a long line at the bakery yesterday to get my pastries so I could have them to photograph and share with you today. Many bakeries opened very early this morning as lines will be long with customers getting paczki on their way to work to share with co-workers, or to take home to enjoy with their families.
They're filled with a variety of fruit and creme fillings, then glazed or covered with granulated or powdered sugar. I purchased three types - raspberry, apricot and lemon - not all for hubby and me, but to share with friends. Supposedly, a small amount of alcohol is added to the dough before frying. As it evaporates, it limits the absorption of oil into the dough.
My neighbor, who is Polish, loaned me the Polish dolls and flag in the above photo. The doily was crocheted by her grandmother. [Click on photo to enlarge.]
By the way... there's a reason this day is also called "Fat Tuesday"- paczki typically contain 300 to 450 calories, and 22 to 27 grams of fat since their rich dough contains eggs, fats, sugar and milk.
What kind of tea is likely to be sipped in Poland on this day? Lipton, Tetley or Dilmah teas are all very popular there. Poland is a leader among European tea consumers placing third after Ireland, and Great Britain according to one source.