Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Eat Me

Today is Fat Tuesday, but I have always known it to be Paczki Day. That's pronounced "poonshki" for those of you who are at loss at the moment. The holiday is not so much a product of my polish heritage, but a Detroit tradition from the city of Hamtramck. As they say up in the midwest, "you don't have to be Polish to polish off a paczki", but it certainly helps. Hamtramck is a little town next to Detroit that used to be a hub for Polish immigrants. The town is so ethnic that Pope John Paul II made a visit on one of his trips to America. I try to make it into Hammtramck whenever I'm back up in Michigan to dine at the Polish Village restaurant. The menu is still written in Polish and today there are still residents who speak only Polish.

After a wild goose hunt today, I was able to track down a local grocery store that carried paczki's. This involved many phone calls, confusing several local bakers but culminated in a "do you mean pack skees?" response that I eagerly responded with "YES!". Within 15 minutes I was at the store purchasing these "pack skees". They came from a company in York, PA and at first I thought they tasted alright (I was really craving a paczki), but it didn't take long for me to remember what a real, fresh paczki was really supposed to be like. It's been about 5 years since I've had one, and I really need to find a place down here that makes them fresh. I still managed to eat 6 of these glorrified donuts, so they couldn't have been all that bad.

When it comes to Detroit, I don't miss the weather, the economy or even the Canadians, but around this time every year, I do very fondly miss the paczkis. I suppose I also miss my babciais, but that's another story.

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