That’s right, it is Paczki Day! I’m from Detroit, I am part Polish and I am a recovering Catholic. So while others are getting their Mardi Gras on, I am wishing I was home, in the D, enjoying a lovely custard-filled Paczki straight from Hamtramck, My Mom’s hometown.
If you have no idea what a Paczki is, then you are not from Detroit and you are not Polish. A Paczki is a traditional Polish Donut. It is about a million calories and a million grams of fat. In Hamtramck, the Polish capital of Detroit (maybe even the USA, or at least it used to be), they make them fresh for Fat Tuesday. People special order them and wait in line for hours to get a fresh made Paczki. I can smell one now–thank god for sensory memory and imagination.
There is no other donut in the world like a Paczki. You savor every bite and imprint the enjoyment into your memory because you will have to wait an entire year before you once again taste the sweet nectar of the Polish Gods. For me, it has been years since I have enjoyed the doughy goodness of a Paczki. It is on this day, every year for the past 4 years, that I have hated being in Los Angeles. For just one day, I would love to fly home, drive into Hamtramck and pick up a dozen Paczkis (& some White Castles, Faygo, Better Made, and National Coney Island Hanis). That would be my perfect “Fat Tuesday.”
But alas, I am in a city where you can get food from every nationality except Polish. Well, at least I haven’t found any good Polish establishments anywhere. I am usually the one who makes the Polish food for my friends at parties. From sauerkraut & Kielbasa to Piergois, it is up to me to bring a little Polish-American culture to my friends and adopted family.
But to be completely honest, I would give it all up–the sun, the sand, the weather–for just one custard-filled Paczki. That’s how good it is!