Before Fat Tuesday, there was Fat Thursday. Not in an historical sense— it's just that tomorrow is Polish Fat Tuesday, Tlusty Czwartek, and the Sun-Times has a piece on one of the things that makes living in a heavily Polish city cool— paczki. Paczki are, when you come down to it, just filled doughnuts. Okay, as this Sun-Times piece points out, there's egg in the dough which makes for a richer dough than your average Dunkins-type doughnut, but still, the only thing exotic about them is that the fillings include unusual things, from prune jelly to rose flavor to a boozy cream (as well as more standard things like blueberry and raspberry). And you can even get them year-round at most Polish bakeries. So what's the big deal about getting paczki right now?
Do we really have to explain why it's cool that there's a holiday each year that results in people lining up out the door to buy doughnuts? One bakery quoted in the Sun-Times piece says they go up at Fat Tuesday from making 500 a day to... 25,000 to 30,000 a day. You can buy them all over town, you'll even see them at the Jewels this time of year, but the Sun-Times has a list of several local bakeries which stand out for their authentic paczkis, including Delightful Pastries in the photo above. (Odd one out: Lagniappe, the south side Cajun place. Well, it is Mardi Gras.) Sadly, our favorite place to get them, not that they were the greatest but because the people were so friendly, Pasieka Bakery in Avondale, burned down last year. But that just means we'll have to try a new place this year.
Join the Polish packi party [Sun-Times]