The rain might have stopped me in my tracks, but, the diehard paczki lovers didn’t let a drizzly and murky morning deter them from getting their favorite Polish pastry for Fat Tuesday.
Social media was all abuzz yesterday with their annual tales about how many folks would be queuing up in long lines around the blocks at bakeries in Hamtramck, or, even your favorite local bakery specializing in the “real deal”, i.e. those fat-laden paczki donuts, guaranteed to spurt fruit or cream filling across your face if you don’t bite into them a certain way.
This morning, just as predicted, the lines were long and stretched many city blocks. People had already been waiting in the rain as long as three or four hours. No complaints – just the anticipation of the joy of that jelly or cream-filled indulgence.
Paczki are not your regular old jelly donuts. And, paczki purists probably find the concept of American Coney Island’s newly created “coney paczki”, a hybrid of pączek and coney dog, just a little unsettling. But, hey … if you enjoy both treats, it might be the best of both worlds!
Likewise, another pączek 2017 creation is the pairing of peanut butter and chocolate, instead of the traditional fruit or cream fillings. Well, some things are left well enough alone, in my humble opinion.
As for me, I have not had a pączek since giving up sweets permanently in 2011 – how boring is that? But, I also don’t have one staring me in the face, and I’m not smelling a boxful of them at close range either, so it is easy not to yield to temptation.
Friends of our family once serenaded my mom on her Valentine’s Day/Fat Tuesday birthday, by showing up with a dozen paczki. Mary even put a candle on each pączek and then lit them all and sang happy birthday to her. What a fun surprise! But Mary didn’t stay to have one since she and her husband had already downed a half-dozen of their own before visiting my mom. Mary and Frank lined up for these treats at the crack of dawn, along with a large crowd of paczki lovers, at the now-shuttered Oak Leaf Bakery in Wyandotte. We couldn’t finish off that dozen in one day, so the remaining ones went into the freezer, to be enjoyed in dribs and drabs after Easter had passed.
Last night I watched the highlights of the Oscars online … a bit ho hum, except, of course, for the faux pas at the finale. When I was younger, I stayed up late to watch all the awards shows. Back then, I knew about all the pop culture nominees – now, I haven’t a clue who most of them are, or the music or movies they are associated with. Granted, I’ve not been inside a movie theatre in nearly 25 years, when I went to see “Sommersby” in 1993. After that, it was just so convenient to grab a videotape from a nearby Blockbuster, and kick back in the easy chair, with a bag of Better Maid cheddar-cheese popcorn propped up next to me within easy reach. Microwave popcorn, hot and smelling so wonderful, also made staying home an easy decision. No long line to buy tickets or treats, and no one talking or kicking behind your seat. Now, there is Netflix and movies on demand to catch up on all those blockbuster films.
I used to love looking at the clothes the stars wore to the Oscars. There were the handsome male movie stars in their tuxes and the women with lots of hairspray, glittery jewelry and teetering on high heels. Most of them had their bodies squeezed, stuffed and pushed-up to the extreme to fit into those skin-tight, er … formfitting dresses.
One thing is for sure – those seasoned stars and starlets weren’t stopping for any paczki today – one bite of that tantalizing treat and they’d bust their seams wide open, and that, my friends, would be a bigger disaster than “Oscargate” was.
[Image of Coney Paczi from American Coney Island]