(Housekeeping Note: Chomp, Chew & Swallow is the Product Review section of Itinerant Foodies.)
When I bought the package of Paczki, I had no idea I was taking part in a cultural and historical practice. I bought the box of doughnuts because they had a weird name on them and because my furnace cost more than $500 to fix earlier in the day. What I really wanted was a bottle – or two – of wine. But the doughnuts were cheaper and would provide a smoother entrance to my Tuesday.
Paczki, according to my friend Wikipedia, were made on Fat Tuesday in Poland to use up all of the rich no-no’s before Lent. (Specifically: lard, sugar, eggs and fruit.) Perhaps the people from the Giant Eagle bakery made their version of Paczki to rid themselves of some of their more toxic ingredients: sodium bicarbonate, sodium stearoyl lactylate, dough conditioner, potassium sorbate. And, of course, high fructose corn syrup. (I hope that I just didn’t give away the secret ages-old recipe to the grocery chain’s Paczki.)
This is what a traditional Polish Paczki looks like:
And this is what I ate:
Truth be told, I went into this adventure blindly. I imagine to a purist, I ate the Burger King Hash Brown version of the traditional Latke. But, when it comes down to it, I bought (in my mind) a box of doughnuts and I ate (almost) a box of doughnuts. All while unknowingly celebrating someone else’s holiday. Neato!
I give this product a C+. While I found it to be a lovely use of my daily intake of hydrogenated vegetable shortening, it left my teeth feeling icky, like I drank a 2 liter of Mountain Dew. I think that I would have preferred the byproducts (stained teeth and slight hangover) of Plan Wine, my original “forget the furnace” strategy.
Happy Fat Tuesday, people!