Whether you will be indulging in Fat Tuesday with a Polish Paczki or embellishing your outfit with beads for Mardi Gras, many of us will be celebrating some reason to splurge on heavy foods, booze, and a lot of naps. And while I’ve been eagerly anticipating every bite of tomorrow’s 700-calorie, Hamtramck-style Paczki, I also wondered why baking everything we shouldn’t eat into a fried ball of dough and dedicating a half a day’s calories to it is actually a thing.
And because lawyers enjoy both a good party and some logical reasoning, here is the verdict on why we should uphold tradition and rule tomorrow as a day for a good time.
If it seems like a Paczki is everything we want and shouldn’t have baked into one, artery-clogging delicacy, it’s because that’s basically the truth. With Lent upon them, Polish Catholics were forced to quickly and efficiently consume all of their pantry’s delicious indulgences before sacrificing them for 40 days. The solution? Fry all of their delectable temptations, such as sugar, eggs, butter, and lard, into something easily consumable. Mission accomplished.
And because every great idea needs a great name, the plural version of “paczek,” a Polish translation for “parcel” or “package,” was appropriately chosen and has stuck ever since.
A Symbol of Community
In more ways than one, Paczki Day is a tribute to the old adage “you are what you eat.” As a fried piece of sugar-coated goodness that makes us simultaneously happy and lethargic, Paczki’s are symbolic of the day they are dedicated to. It is a day to mesh together all of our best traits and values of fun and humor, and just enjoy all of life’s delicacies together as a community.
As a Polish-heavy city, Detroit has established quite a reputation for its Paczkis. And if you plan to save up enough calories for the annual treat but can’t decide which bakery you want to stand in hour-long lines at, here is a list of MLive’s top picks from last year
Only in Polish communities, of course. Detroit’s standing champion devoured 23 paczkis in 15 minutes at the 2015 Paczki Eating Contest in Plymouth. In case you were wondering, that’s about 1.5 paczek per minute. Holy Paczek!
So whether you’ve saved your calories for a splurge, or you think you might want to take that Paczki challenge, I’ll see you at the gym next week! :)