HAMTRAMCK (WWJ) – It’s an unofficial holiday for many in the metro Detroit area: Fat Tuesday, also known as Paczki Day.
A Polish-American tradition, several celebrate on Fat Tuesday — the day before Lent begins — by gorging on paczki, which are calorie-laden, deep-fried pastries filled with the most delicious creams, custards and jellies.
Traditionally, the reason for making paczki (pronounced “pooonch-key”) was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house, because the ingredients were forbidden to be consumed due to Catholic fasting practices during Lent, according to Michigan.org.
The tradition has evolved over the years and now, come Fat Tuesday, Americans rush out to get the tastiest paczki they can find. Ask any metro Detroiter and they’ll tell you, the best place to go for pazcki is Hamtramck.
That’s where WWJ’s Mike Campbell found Denise Star, an executive at Compuware, standing in line at the New Palace Bakery to buy a whopping 19 dozen paczki for her office.
“I’ve been doing this for 24 years straight and I take them to the employees I work with,” she said.
At the New Martha Washington Bakery, Sandy Bakic said paczki are so popular this year, they had to stop taking orders over the weekend.
“We’ve never stopped taking orders in the 40 years that we’ve been here. It’s just the demand. I have literally no place for the boxes for the orders,” she said.
But Ilene Hauser, of St. Clair Shores, said paczki isn’t the only sweet treat many Polish-Americans eat on Fat Tuesday.
“We get the chrusciki. They are like a thin cookie that’s in a triangle and they deep fry it and put on some powder sugar,” she said.
MORE: Best Paczki In Detroit