In case you weren’t aware, today is Mardi Gras (translation if you need to brush up on your French: Fat Tuesday)! …And I’m not referencing an impromptu cheesecake binge that happens to fall on a Tuesday. Historically, this celebration is marked with consuming fatty, rich foods and showing your breasts for beads before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent, but that’s not what’s really important to me. Today is also a different kind of holy day popular here in Chicago: Pączki Day. 

Pączki is pronounced like “poonch-key,” not “pack-zeeky” as I had once thought. Pączki? What the hell is that? A disease? Polish Pacman? If you guessed Polish Pacman–you’re half right. Pączki (which is plural, but I’m going to continue to bastardize it and use it as both singular and plural) are Polish pastries that come out in full force in February. What they are is deep-fried dough filled with anything delicious you could possibly imagine: cheese, fudge, blueberries, custard, strawberries, or butter cream, and to literally top it all off, they’re dusted with powdered sugar. It’s heaven and Type 2 Diabetes wrapped into one mouth-watering pastry.

Get in my belly.Image from Google
Get in my belly.
Image from Google

In the Polish tradition, Pączki Day takes place the Thursday before Lent, but here in Chicago, within and outside of the sizeable Polish community, it’s largely associated with Fat Tuesday. Some bakeries here won’t even have pączki until Fat Tuesday and after, and the demand is insane.

Now I’m not Polish, and I’m not a Lent-participant, but, like many other true Chicagoans, if you give me a day of celebration that involves the glorification and consumption of a deep-fried pastry? I’m totally in.

If you haven’t ever heard of pączki or of Pączki Day, this year I highly recommend you call your local bakery and see if they sell them so you can try one. It will change your entire outlook on life. The way the filling oozes out on that first bite… The sweetness of the powdered sugar… Oh my goodness, is it amazing. I’ll be picking up my pączki order and scheduling my quadruple bypass this weekend.

(…Oh, and since I know you’re worried: calories don’t exist on Paczki Day. Neither does fat or carbs. So celebrate away!)

Do you celebrate Pączki Day? What gluttonous Fat Tuesday traditions do you participate in?

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26 thoughts on “Paczki Day: A Day to be a Proud (Fat) Chicagoan

  1. Huh, I don’t have any traditions for Fat Tuesday, gluttonous or otherwise…maybe I should make some up. All You Can Eat Chinese Food Tuesday perhaps? Sounds good, but this will probably be an expensive venture, LOL. 😀

    And those pastries look divine, I’ve never heard of them and I’m not a fan of powdered sugur, but they look yummy! 😀

    1. Ha! To each their own! Chinese food, paczki, it’s all good. 🙂

      No powdered sugar, huh? You sound equally as crazy as one of my best friends that doesn’t like whipped cream! It’s insanity!

      1. Oh no, I adore whipped cream, especially when it’s frozen or at least really really cold, but I don’t like the taste of powdered sugar…it’s just icky…and unnecessary, lol. 😀

    1. Oh gosh, they totally are. I can’t wait to gorge myself on them this weekend. I would’ve picked up my order today, but because of work I had to postpone my celebration.

    1. So I knew Paczki Day was especially popular here because of our large Polish community, but I can’t believe other places in the country/world are missing out?! What is going on?! Florida needs paczki, too!

  2. Powdered sugar is, quite possibly, the answer to all the world’s problems, and that picture truly defines Fat Tuesday. Great post!

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