Today is Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras.  Whatever you want to call it – it’s the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.  And for many Christians it’s a day to party it up, to eat their favorite foods and drink their favorite beverages.

In some cases it’s a little too much of all their favorite things because for devout Christians, Lent is a period of fasting – giving up some of their favorite things.  Some people give up desserts, some people give up drinking.

A Polish tradition here in this area and other cities with a heavily Polish heritage is the Pazcki – pronounced Poonch-key.  Basically a big jelly donut.  It’s an old Polish tradition of using up all of the household’s fat, sugar, eggs and fruit before Lent and often they would include heavy amounts of butter and lard.  Usually they’re filled with jelly, but sometimes they have cream or custard or chocolate, then covered with powered sugar.

I think you can see why it’s called Fat Tuesday.  At one time only Polish bakeries in the city would offer them, but you can find them in almost any grocery store as Lent approaches.