In other parts of the world, the day before Lent is called Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday, Mardi Gras, or Carnival. But in metro Detroit, today is Paczki Day.
“What is a paczki?” you ask.
First of all, it is pronounced poonch-key. A paczki is a Polish pastry. It looks and tastes like a jelly-filled doughnut, except it is denser and heavier. The fillings come in numerous flavors– raspberry, blueberry, lemon, apple, strawberry, prune, buttercream. Some have powdered sugar on top, some don’t. One bar in Hamtramck even fills theirs with vodka!
When I was a kid, Paczki Day was only celebrated in Hamtramck and other Polish immigrant enclaves. Now you can find these yummy treats at pretty much every major bakery or grocery store in metro Detroit. Just as the non-Irish as well as the Irish celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, those (like myself) who are not Polish or Catholic enjoy Paczki Day. But some diehards insist that you have to go to Hamtramck to experience the real thing.