No, not Christmas. Fat Tuesday. The time just before Lent. Why, you may ask? Paczki Day, of course!
Making paczki is a long-standing family tradition, passed down from my grandmother, to my mom & her sisters, and now to the next generation. It's probably my favorite of any of our Polish heritage traditions (oplatki at Christmas being the other top contender). It's an all-day adventure to make the paczki, which is why my mom always made them the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, and I've now undertaken that adventure myself - beginning at 8 AM, finishing aroung 2 PM.
Mixing up the dough:
Rising cut paczki:
Time for a taste:
Many paczki, big mess:
(full disclosure - these are last year's photos; I didn't take any this year, aside from one at the very end, to document the 107 paczki we made.)
I've shared the family recipe with some friends, and my friend Trina gave it a go this year. I love that she made them, and enjoyed them - it warms my heart to pass this on to some of my fellow women. Having no children of my own, and only a nephew in the next generation, it's a little disappointing to miss out on the opportunity to pass down of one of my favorite traditions. Not that Nephew can't make these (and he's currently at an age where he still wants to help out!), but there's something special, something enduring, about the matriarchal lineage of very traditional family recipes.