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

March 04, 2014|By Mick Swasko, @swasko

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

You're in luck! I was the weird guy in the RedEye office who brought those for Fat Thursday, and if you've got a similar co-worker of Polish descent who brought in treats today, you might be wondering what's going on. It's Paczki Day, or Fat Tuesday, 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. 
  • Paczki 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.
  • Uber Chicago is offering delivery of Paczki though their UberX service, so you barely have to move to collect the jelly-filled goods. 
  • It's also National Pancake Day, and select IHOPs are offering a free short stack. 
  • 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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