I’m spot treating my mud-splashed pants while simultaneously doing deep squats in my laundry room, and I’m doing both to ward off the effects of an emergency Paczki run. Frankly, I’m a little cranky.
Let me explain.
I’m the granddaughter of a proudly Polish man. I know my way around a pieroghi. Halubki? I can roll cabbage with the best of them. (Not true. No one rolls cabbage like my grandma). Still, I’ve made a pot or two in my time.
I know that Paska belongs in an Easter basket and it had better be braided to perfection because the priest is going to bless it and no one wants the parish priest looking down on their homemade bread.
I know all of this because my Baba told me so.
But, in the 34 years I knew him, my Pap never once mentioned Paczki.
I almost said this when my husband called yesterday morning from outside Simple Simon Bakery.
“You should walk down here and buy a box of Paczki for your office,” he said. “It’s really festive. They have an accordion player and everything.”
Paczki, a Polish doughnut, have become all the rage around here on Fat Tuesday, and why not? They taste much better than King Cake or hot cross buns, they pack up easily and they come in all sorts of delicious flavors. Who wouldn’t want to eat Paczki on Fat Tuesday?
Someone in winter white pants who has to walk through rain puddles to pick them up, that’s who. Someone who may or may not have a few winter pounds to shed and only recently reacquainted herself with her Fitness Pal, that’s who.
Still, I trudged on over to the bakery and, even though it rained a little there and back, it really was worth the trip.
An accordion player stood in the corner and scored the whole scene with music that would have set my polka-loving Pap’s toes tapping. Friendly employees, dressed for the occasion, sold box after box of goodies. People cheerfully stood in line.
I had to wonder, though, as I lugged my box back to the office, when Paczki (pronounced, as every newscaster from here to Chicago will tell you on every Fat Tuesday broadcast, poonch-kee), had taken center stage in our pre-lenten celebration.
I checked my Polish cookbooks and found no mention. I Googled, and then I called the real authority, my Aunt Martha.
“Did grandma ever make Paczki?” I asked in an admittedly self-righteous tone.
“No, she didn’t,” Aunt Martha said.
“I KNEW it,” I said.
“No, your grandma never made them, but your great Aunt Mary did and they were delicious,” Aunt Martha said.
So, maybe I’ve been wrong all along about Paczki. According to an article I found in the International Business Times, the doughnuts have existed since the Middle Ages.
So, possibly not a fad invented just to trick me off my diet.
I’m going to give you Paczki lovers this year, and probably next year too. I’m still a little skeptical, and I’m definitely blaming those tantalizing pasties if the splash marks on my pants stain.
But, for a Fat Tuesday treat, they’re not too shabby.
(I’m not going to lie, I have no idea what that word means. I saw it at the bottom of an article on PolAmJournal.com and it seemed festive. Hope it’s not too salty.)