It is often a novelty being an expat, and today is one of those specific days where the locals celebrate very differently to back home. I know today as Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, or the day before the beginning of Lent, but Paczki Day?
A Paczki is a jam-filled doughnut, and if you were ever going to splurge on stuffing your face with doughnuts in Michigan, today would be the day. People are buying them by the dozen! I had to do a little research to find out what Paczki Day is all about, here is what I found:
Paczki?s originated in Poland, and were invented from the need to rid your kitchen of foods that were forbidden to be eaten during the Polish Catholic?s fasting of Lent. The tradition in Michigan was started by the large Polish community, particularly in the town of Hamtramck, where they even throw a Paczki Day Parade every year! The modern Michigan Paczki is no longer simply a jam-filled doughnut coated in sugar, there are many different fillings to choose from ranging from custard, chocolate creme, lemon curd, stewed apple….and every jam flavor you can think of!? To make sure you are pronouncing it like the locals, the correct pronunciation is ‘pooonch-key’.
I have to admit that I have not had the chance to try a Paczki today! I had every intention to try one, but the local bakery had a line of locals stretching down the street, excited to indulge on this special occasion (and this Aussie is not a fan of standing outside in freezing temperatures for long periods of time). I figure if I go back tomorrow, there will still be some left over? But if Paczki day is truly a religious celebration I may not be able to find this indulgent treat during Lent!