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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Paczki Day!

It's here, Fat Tuesday, the day that all Detroiters line up outside well know bakeries in Hamtramck for the most delectable of treats, the Paczki.  A Polish treat that has been around since the middle ages.  Meijer and Kroger do sell paczki but according to everything "hip" to get the real thing you have to go down to either the New Palace Bakery or the New Martha Washington Bakery in Hamtramck.

 A paczki, pronounced ponchki, is the Polish equivalent of a doughnut... only more doughnutty (in the words of Scott "the Gator" Anderson from 97.1 the Ticket in DTW).  They are huge discs of deep fried dough filled with any type of jam imaginable.  Although they look like a jelly doughnut, what makes them different is the ingredients of the dough used to make the paczki.  The dough includes eggs, lard, sugar and milk and makes for a pretty heavy morning treat.  Most paczkis, besides being filled with fattening jam or custard, are also either glazed or sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Paczki Day originally is celebrated on the last Thursday before Lent (you know that time leading up to Easter when you are supposed to give up doing stuff that you like to do but that may not be good for you, like eating paczkis.)  But now people can't wait and we celebrate on Tuesday.  The reason for the paczki was to get rid of all the flour, eggs, sugar and milk that was forbidden during Lent. 

These days paczki day in Detroit means lining up for a sampling outside Hamtramck bakeries while the ancestors of polish immigrants and their families that settled in this enclave churn out some of the best paczkis in America.

Apparently the Paczki has also entered the realm of professional eaters.  The Paczki Challenge, as it is called, consists of contestants eating as many Paczkis as possible while walking across a room.  The record is currently held by McKay Johnson of who set the record of 18 raspberry filled paczkis at the Greater Chicago Paczki Challenge.

Although I did eat my fair share of paczki today, you will not find me indulging in the gluttonous act of professional paczki eating... ever.

All facts pertaining to Paczkis were found on wikipedia, so who knows if it's true, but it sounds good.

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