Join Date: Oct 2008
Re: It's almost Fat Tuesday!
Assorted pączki in AmericaPączki (Polish: pączki) are traditional Polish doughnuts. Pączki is the plural form of the word pączek (pronounced: [ˈpɔ̃t͡ʂɛk]) in Polish, though many English speakers use paczki as singular and paczkis as plural.
A pączek is a deep-fried piece of dough shaped into a flattened sphere and filled with confiture or other sweet filling. Pączki are usually covered with powdered sugar, icing or bits of dried orange zest.
Although they look like bismarcks or jelly doughnuts, pączki are made from especially rich dough containing eggs, fats, sugar and sometimes milk. They feature a variety of fruit and creme fillings and can be glazed, or covered with granulated or powdered sugar. Prunes and rose-petal jam are traditional fillings, but many others are used as well, including lemon, strawberry, Bavarian cream, blueberry, custard, raspberry and apple.
Pączki have been known in Poland at least since the Middle Ages. Jędrzej Kitowicz has described that during the reign of August III, under the influence of French cooks who came to Poland, pączki dough was improved, so that pączki became lighter, spongier, and more resilient.
In Poland, they are eaten especially on Fat Thursday, the last Thursday before Lent (Polish: Tłusty czwartek, not to be confused with Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday). Traditionally, the reason for making pączki was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house, which are forbidden during Lent.
Due to New Orleans' influence, in America, pączki are eaten on Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) rather than on Fat Thursday. In the large Polish community of Chicago, and other large cities across the Midwest, Paczki Day is also celebrated annually by immigrants and locals alike. In Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Hamtramck, Milwaukee,Pulaski and South Bend, Paczki Day is more commonly celebrated on Fat Tuesday instead of Fat Thursday. Chicago celebrates both Fat Thursday and Fat Tuesday, due to its sizable Polish population.
In Hamtramck, an enclave in Detroit, there is an annual Paczki Day (Fat Tuesday) Parade, and lines at bakeries can be seen up to 24 hours before the deep-fried delights go on sale Tuesday morning. This happens especially in Parma, Ohio at Europa Deli & Imports, Colozza's Bakery and Rudy's Strudel and Bakery. Europa Deli & Imports keeps to its Polish tradition by celebrating Fat Thursday as well. People will wait in lines, or in their cars that run up and down Ridge Road; Parma Police have regulated traffic in past years. In Toledo, Ohio, people will start waiting in lines at 4 AM to get fresh paczki for Fat Tuesday. A local Polish grocery store called Stanley's, located on the north end of town, makes them homemade. The same thing happens also in Cleveland or Garfield Heights, Ohio, outside the Charles Peters Bakery, which is near the border of both cities (at the triple intersection of Turney Road, Grand Division and Sladden Avenue). According to Garfield Heights police, one year 3,000 people waited for pączki. Police had to close Sladden Avenue, and Rybicki and Son Funeral Home had to delay funerals due to this. Many bars in town open early in the morning and provide free entertainment, a party atmosphere, pączki-clad mascots and, in at least one bar, pączki filled with Jagermeister. The Paczki Day celebration in these areas are even larger than many celebrations for St. Patrick's Day.
Pączki in America
These pastries have become popular in the United States as a result of Polish immigrants and marketing by the bakery industry.
Home-made glazed pączki.A cultural phenomenon is the emergence of the "Pączki Challenge", an eating contest in which individuals attempt to race from one side of a room (non-standard) while eating as many pączki as they can before reaching the other side. The person who arrives first and has eaten the most pączki wins. Typically a ratio of 1 pączek for every 10 steps is considered competitive. Amateur competitive eater McKay Johnson holds the record at The Greater Chicago Paczki Challenge. He was able to consume 18 raspberry filled pączki before crossing the room.
Pączki in Israel
Meanwhile, Polish Jews fried pączki (Yiddish: פּאָנטשקעס , pontshkes) in oil, and ate them on Hanukkah; this custom was imported to Israel and spread to other Jews, who know them by their Modern Hebrew name, סופגניות, sufganiyot (singular: סופגניה, sufganiyah).
Pączki variations worldwide
In Romania, they are called gogoşi and are a very popular snack, especially during the summer.
In Iran, they are called "Pi-rash-ki" and are very popular, especially among the children.
In Russian cuisine, the word "pączki" transformed phonetically into ponchiki (Russian: пончики, plural form of пончик, ponchik) or pyshki (Russian: пышки, especially in St. Petersburg). Ponchiki are a very popular sweet doughnut, with many fast and simple recipes available in Russian cookbooks for making them at home as a breakfast or coffee pastry.
In Ukrainian cuisine, they are called пампушки, pampushky.
In German and Danish, they are called Berliner. In Austria they are called Krapfen.
In Lithuanian cuisine, they're called spurgos.
In Portuguese tradition, a similar confection called the malasada is made during Fat Tuesday. In Hawaii, where Portuguese immigrants worked the sugarcane and pineapple plantations, malasadas are a popular breakfast or dessert item that can be purchased at countless malasada bakeries.
In Brazil, it's called Sonho - Portuguese for "dream".
In Mexico, it's called Bola de Berlín - Spanish for "Berlin ball"
In Chile, it's called berlín - Spanish for "berliner".
In Hungary, it is called fánk.
In Italy they are called bomboloni.
Shrove Tuesday is the term used in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and among US Episcopalians to refer to the day after Shrove Monday (or the more old fashioned Collop Monday) and before Ash Wednesday, when the Christian liturgical season of Lent begins.
In Ireland, the UK, and amongst Anglicans, Lutherans and possibly other Protestant denominations in Canada, including Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, this day is also known as Pancake Day, because it has been customary to eat pancakes on this day.
In other parts of the Christian world — for example, in France, in Belgium and historically French-speaking Catholic parts of the United States and elsewhere — this day is called Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, again, in reference to eating special foods before the fasting season of Lent. In Poland and areas with large Polish-immigrant Christian populations, for example, Chicago, it is known as Tłusty Czwartek (literally: Fat Thursday) and celebrated on the Thursday before Lent. And in areas with German Christian traditions populations, such as Pennsylvania Dutch Country, it is known as Fasnacht Day (also spelled Fausnacht Day, Fauschnaut Day, and Fosnacht Day).
The French and Belgians also have a festival associated with pancakes (crêpes). This is held on February 2 each year. This festival is called Chandeleur. It is associated with the presentation of Jesus Christ in the temple. Candles are lit (the name is derived from the word "chandelle" or candle) . The French may also eat pancakes for mi-Careme and Mardi Gras.
Similar to Chandeleur, Candlemas is celebrated by Anglican communities. It is sometimes thought that pancakes are associated with this celebration because of the solar symbolism of their shape and colour.
A traditional food for Mardi Gras are sweet fried dumplings, cenci, usually served in the shape of a loose knot (a 5cm wide, 20cm long strip of dough one extremity of which is passed through a slit in its middle). In New Orleans and French-speaking communities, another traditional food is king cake. Traditionally a community king for Mardi Gras was found by the man who ate a bean baked in the cake.
Pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent because they were a way to use up rich foodstuffs such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent. The liturgical fasting emphasized eating plainer food: in many cultures this meant no meat, and in some, no food prepared with dairy or eggs. Therefore, rich ingredients were cooked to use them immediately prior to the commencement of the fast. Pancakes and doughnuts also provided a minor celebratory feast prior to the fast itself .
The word shrove is a past tense of the English verb "shrive," which means to obtain absolution for one's sins by confessing and doing penance. Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the shriving (confessing) that English Christians were expected to do prior to receiving absolution immediately before Lent began. Shrove Tuesday is the last day of "shrovetide", the English equivalent to the Carnival tradition that developed separately in countries of Latin Europe.
In countries of the Carnival tradition, the day before Ash Wednesday is known either as the "Tuesday of Carnival" (in Spanish-speaking countries, Martes de Carnaval, in Portuguese-speaking countries, Terça-feira de Carnaval, in German Faschingsdienstag) or Fat Tuesday (in Portuguese-speaking countries Terça-feira Gorda, in French-speaking countries, Mardi Gras, in Italian-speaking countries, Martedì Grasso, in Sweden, Fettisdagen). In Estonian, Vastlapäev.
The term "Shrove Tuesday" is no longer widely known in the United States outside of the Episcopal Church Tradition  because of the increase in many immigrant populations and traditions since the 19th century. Mardi Gras was always the tradition among French Catholi
In United Kingdom, Ireland,, Australia, New Zealand, India and Canada, Shrove Tuesday is sometimes known colloquially as Pancake Day or Pancake Tuesday. The traditional pancake is slightly thicker than a French crêpe. It is served immediately after preparation and is traditionally served with a meat based stew, although in modern times a sprinkling of granulated sugar (superfine sugar in the United States) and lemon juice has become more common. Many other sweet and savoury toppings are used today (for example, in Canada pancakes are often served with maple syrup).
In Australia, UnitingCare Australia (the social services arm of the Uniting Church in Australia) has used Pancake Day to raise money for their work.
The Rehab UK Parliamentary Pancake Race also takes place every Shrove Tuesday, with teams from the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the Fourth Estate battling it out for the title of Parliamentary Pancake Race Champions. This relay race is held to raise awareness of the work of national brain injury charity Rehab UK and the needs of people with acquired brain injury.
Shrove Tuesday traditions particular to the United Kingdom
Shrove tuesday was once known a 'half-holiday' in England. It started at 11am with a church bell signalling the start. On Pancake Day, pancake races are held in villages and towns across the United Kingdom. In 1634 William Fennor wrote in his Palinodia:
"And tosse their Pancakes up for feare they burne."
But the tradition of pancake racing had started long before that. The most famous pancake race , at Olney in Buckinghamshire, has been held since 1445. The contestants, traditionally women, carry a frying pan and race to the finishing line tossing the pancakes as they go. As the pancakes are thin, skill is required to toss them successfully while running. The winner is the first to cross the line having tossed the pancake a certain number of times.
The tradition is said to have originated when a housewife from Olney was so busy making pancakes, that she forgot the time until she heard the church bells ringing for the service. She raced out of the house to church while still carrying her frying pan and pancake.
Since 1950 the people of Liberal, Kansas, and Olney have held the "International Pancake Day" race between the two towns. The two towns' competitors race along an agreed-upon course, and the times of all of the two towns' competitors are compared, to determine a winner. After the 2000 race, Liberal was leading with 26 wins to Olney's 24.
In North Somercotes in Lincolnshire in eastern England, a race takes place every year in the village. There are three categories - adults, children from 11 to 16, and under 11s. Each person receives a frying pan and has to race from one end of a field to the other, tossing their pancake at least once every few seconds on the way. As in the Buckinghamshire race, the winner is the first to cross the line, having tossed their pancake several times and with the pancake still intact.
Also, in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, the foreshore road (beach) is closed off, schools close early and all residents are invited to skip in the road.
A Festy cock in Scotland is a ball of extra finely ground meal, wetted until it could be patted and rolled into a round shape, then roasted in the hot ashes from a mill kiln, etc. It was eaten at Shrovetide.
The Pancake Greaze
Another local tradition, the Pancake Greaze, takes place every year at Westminster School in London. A pancake, reinforced with horsehair, is prepared in advance and on Shrove Tuesday tossed into the air "up School". The boys at the school then attempt to get as much of it as they can. See the Customs section of the Westminster School article.
Shrove Tuesday football
Many towns throughout England held traditional Shrove Tuesday football ('Mob football') games dating as far back as the 12th century. The practice mostly died out with the passing of the Highway Act 1835, which banned the playing of football on public highways. A number of towns have managed to maintain the tradition to the present day including Alnwick in Northumberland, Ashbourne in Derbyshire (called the Royal Shrovetide Football Match), Atherstone (called the Ball Game) in Warwickshire, Sedgefield (called the Ball Game) in County Durham, and St Columb Major (called Hurling the Silver Ball) in Cornwall.
In the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, household objects are baked into the pancakes and served to family members. Rings, thimbles, thread, coins, and other objects all have meanings associated with them. The lucky one to find coins in their pancake will be rich, the finder of the ring will be the first married, and the finder of the thimble will be a seamstress or tailor.
In Estonia (Vastlapäev) and Finland (Laskiainen), this day is associated with hopes for the coming year. On this day, families go sledging and eat split pea and ham soup. A toy is made from the ham bone by tying the bone to a string and spinning it around to make a whistling noise. There is a tale told that if you cut your hair on ash wednesday, it will grow fast and thick for the next year. Finns also share the tradition of the marzipan and cream filled pastry with Swedes, although often the marzipan is replaced with strawberry jam. Finnish name for it is laskiaispulla. It is most often accompanied with hot red or black currant drink or sometimes, for adults, glögi - a heated mulled wine.
In Germany, Austria and Slovenia people traditionally eat rich pastries such as Berliner, krapfen or krof.
In Hawaii, this day is also known as Malasada Day. Dating back to the days of the sugar plantations in the 1800s, the Portuguese immigrants needed to use up their butter and sugar prior to Lent. They did so by making large batches of malasada (Portuguese Doughnuts), which they shared with friends from all the other ethnic groups in the plantation camps. This led to the popularity of the malasada in Hawaii. Still a tradition in Hawaii, Leonard's Bakery has long lines to purchase discounted malasadas on this day.
In Iceland the day is known as Sprengidagur (Bursting day) and is marked by the eating of salt meat and peas.
In Lithuania the day is called Užgavėnės. People eat pancakes (blynai) and Lithuanian-style doughnuts called spurgos.
In Michigan, especially in the Hamtramck area near Detroit with its large Polish community, Pączki Day is celebrated with pączki eating contests, music and Polish food.
In Pennsylvania, it is a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition to eat a type of doughnuts called Fastnachts] (or Fasnachts). The Fastnacht was made of all the sweets and other soon-to-be-forbidden items in the household and consumed on Fat Tuesday so that one would not be tempted to break the Lenten Fast. Today they are made from potato dough and fried; some commercial variants are often coated with a sugary glaze. They are frequently served with dark corn syrup for dipping. In John Updike's novel, Rabbit Run (set in Pennsylvania), his main character, Rabbit Angstrom, remembers from his childhood a "Fosnacht Day" tradition where the last person to rise would be teased by the other family members and called a "Fosnacht."
In the Philippines a popular treat is bibingka, a pancake made from rice flour and topped with white cheese, butter, sugar, salted duck's egg, and coconut. Bibingka is baked on hot coals in a clay pot lined with a banana leaf. It is traditionally served with salabat or ginger tea.
In Poland, pączki and faworki are traditionally eaten on Fat Thursday (Polish: Tłusty czwartek), i.e. the one before Shrove Tuesday. However, in areas of Michigan with large Polish communities, they are eaten on "Fat Tuesday" due to French influence. Shrove Tuesday itself is sometimes referred to as "śledzik" ("little herring") and it is customary to have some pickled herring with vodka (Polish: wódka) that day.
In Sweden the day before Ash Wednesday is known as fettisdagen ("Fat Tuesday") in Swedish. The day is marked by eating a traditional pastry, called semla or fastlagsbulle, a sweet bun filled with marzipan (or almond paste) and whipped cream. Originally, the pastry was only eaten on this day and served with hot milk. Eventually the tradition evolved to eat the bun on every Tuesday leading up to Easter, as after the Reformation, the Protestant Swedes no longer observed a strict Lent. Today, semlas are available in shops and bakeries every day from shortly after Christmas until Easter. The semla is now often eaten as a regular pastry, without the hot milk. The semla is also traditional in Finland but there is usually filled with jam instead of marzipan.