Lidia Kieca purchased her paczki final Thursday (Feb. 20), when Paczki Day is widely known in Poland. Kieca additionally purchased some Monday to ship in a single day to her grownup daughter in Nashville, Tennessee, the place she stated the standard Polish pastries are tougher to seek out.
And she or he was again on the bakery on Tuesday, when Paczki Day is well known in Chicago and different US cities with giant Polish populations, carrying pastry-crammed packing containers stacked as much as her chin. For Kieca, whose dad and mom are Polish, the bready dough — fried and full of a myriad of jams and custards — are enjoyable. They’re “a part of rising up, a part of our custom,” she stated.
They’re additionally a reminder, “you’re not alleged to eat any such stuff after at present,” she stated, laughing. For a lot of Poles, each within the US and past, Paczki Day is the kickoff to Lent, the 40 days of no eating and prayer that Catholics and plenty of different Christians in liturgical traditions observe main as much as Easter.
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However, one needn’t be spiritual to take pleasure in a paczek. “Some individuals have waning beliefs on their faith, however even in the event you’re not, you recognize, 100% Catholic, you’re nonetheless 100% Polish Roman Catholic as a result of everything in Polish custom, and the vacations are revolving across the church,” stated Bartlomiej Kolatek, basic supervisor of Kolatek’s Bakery on the Northwest Side of Chicago.
Within the US, Paczki Day comes on what others might name Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday, a day some have fun by consuming pancakes. The thought is identical: To feast earlier than Lent begins on Ash Wednesday — and perhaps to make use of up a few of these tempting meals within the cabinets, like sugar and butter and alcohol. At least six of the paczki out there this week at Kolatek’s Bakery embrace fillings flavored with alcohol, together with rum and an egg liqueur known as advocaat.