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It's Paczki Day, there is probably booze in your office Paczkis

February 27, 2014|By Mick Swasko, @swasko

The weird guy in the office brought in some sort of jelly doughnut-looking things Thursday morning labeled "Paczki" and you have no idea what to do. 

You're in luck! I'm the weird guy in the RedEye office who brought those this morning, and if you've got a similar co-worker of Polish descent who brought in treats, you might be wondering what's going on. It's Paczki Day, or Fat Thursday, and what you're about to eat are certainly not jelly doughnuts. 

Here's the rundown: 

  • Paczki is pronounced POONCH-key.
  • It's not a jelly doughnut. My Polish grandmother (babcia) would scold you for calling them that. It's a Paczki. 
  • Paczkis are made for Fat Thursday or Tuesday (which falls on March 4 this year), in an attempt to get rid of all the stuff in the house you can't eat during Lent, which starts Wednesday, March 5. 
  • One of the ingredients you'd be getting rid of is booze. Most Paczki recipies call for grain alcohol, rum or brandy. The one's I got from Jewel ($4.99 for 6!) don't look to have any hooch in them, but more authentic shops should use it. 
  • Paczki Fest is a thing, and it's going on in Chicago right now. Central Continental Bakery is open 24-hours until March 3, and you can order online.
  • Since they're fried, Paczki's can be hard to make at home, so my grandma used to make kolaczki and tell us they were Paczkis. That's kind of a personal piece of trivia I guess but it's worth noting. 
  • They are delicious.

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