Poradnik: How to eat a Polish doughnut
A Polish doughnut called pączek is what we would call in America a filled doughnut. It should be large and round, about the the size of your fist with a kind of domed top. The traditional filling should be rose jam, although you can get it with pudding, cream or adwokat. The doughnut should be glazed (glaze: lukier, glazed: lukrowane, z lukrem) and sometimes is drizzled with chocolate (z polewą) or dusted with powdered sugar. I don’t really like glazed doughnuts or rose jam for that matter, but I make an exception every year on FAT THURSDAY (Tłusty Czwartek). Fat Thursday is the last day to stuff yourself before the start of Lent and what better way to do it than with doughnuts.
My mother-in-law makes very good doughnuts without any glaze or sugar on top – just the way that we like them. When I say we, I mean my m-i-l and I. The kids love the glaze and if you leave your doughnut unattended, you will soon find that it has been de-glazed (odlukrowane) for you by some very precise little tongues. The same little glaze-covered faces will innocently declare, “to nie ja” when asked what happened to your doughnut. (it wasn’t me)
I have never dared to make doughnuts at home. Doughnuts are deep fried, and I don’t really know how to do it. The key is to cook them at the right temperature for the right length of time so that they are brown on the outside and cooked on the inside. Babcia Ewa used to make doughnuts for the church, and bless her heart, they were almost black on the outside and raw on the inside.
When you bite into a Polish pączek it should conform to your bite but then spring back to its original size and shape, sans your bite of course. Glaze will stick to your fingers and quite possibly your lips and chin. Some rose jam, best when not too sweet, may also drip out. On Fat Thursday, you have special dispensation to lick the glaze and jam off your fingers and smack your lips. You also have dispensation to eat like a glutton even boasting how many doughnuts you have consumed like a college boy bragging about how many chicks (laski) he has scored. TV reporters will do segments on the news about doughnuts and how many calories they have, but nobody really cares because they are so good and it’s only once a year.
Today at my first lesson, the secretary asked me, “Do you count calories?” I asked her if I looked like someone who counts calories which is in fact a trick question because however you answer, it can be construed as an insult. “Well,” she continued, “I don’t want to make a faux pas, but I’d like to bring you a doughnut.” I agreed with a big “thank you” and now I’d like to tell you the absolute best way to eat a doughnut. The absolute best way to eat a doughnut is on a plate with a cup of coffee delivered to you by a pretty lady while you are getting paid to eat it. Smacznego!
The inspiration for today’s post is this drawing by Andrzej Mleczko. I bought a copy of it and intend to hang it in the kitchen of my house. http://mleczko.interia.pl/
Polish Roll (Recipe)
1. We buy a big roll.
2. We inhale it as fucking fast as we can so nobody can take it from us.
PS I wanted to translate “adwokat”, but I couldn’t find the proper translation. It is a kind of egg cream alcohol and in doughnuts it is a pudding with that flavor. I thought that maybe I’d have better luck with “pączek z adwokatem” but instead Google translator gave me “bud with an attorney”. (pączek is also bud like flower bud and adwokat is also lawyer) Hee, hee.
ania_2000February 11, 2010 at 3:41 pm
Mniam mniam. Lucky you:) mmm..you can eat real fresh paczki. It's very hard to get real paczki here, in Portland. The closest thing you can get are bismarcks or donuts from Krispy Kreme. So – how many did you eat today?:)BTW I LOVE MLECZKO!
ChrisFebruary 11, 2010 at 3:47 pm
So far I have eaten only 2. Lizzie ate 2 at Pre-school, 2 at home and she is working on another.
StardustFebruary 11, 2010 at 5:05 pm
Thank God I work on Thursdays and for the last 25 years have no chance to buy polish paczki:) because I would have to go to Greenpoint (polish area in Brooklyn) But whenever we go there (2-3 times a year) I do eat one, with the glaze:)) I am so happy that some of \”my\” readers love your blog, I kind of new it will be a HIT!!
AnetaCuseFebruary 11, 2010 at 5:35 pm
Wow, you are lucky! A Polish doughnut is a dream, and I noticed it's hard to find a good Polish doughnut even in Poland these days. I love doughnuts and luckily found my new favorite in the States. Without jam, as I don't like it either. Anyhow, I figured that since I'm Polish-American I should celebrate both Fat Thursday (Polish) today, and Fat Tuesday (American) next Tuesday. Hehe.P.S. Chris, I read your entire blog, and I find it absolutely fascinating. I came to the US 10 years ago when I was 22 and settled in Upstate New York with my American husband. I was an English teacher in Poland. Even though I grew up in Poland, I feel quite alien there.
ania_2000February 11, 2010 at 5:49 pm
have any of you ever been to New Orleans on Fat Tuesday?:) I've been once – and that was a shock for me to realize that Americans CAN party:)That much and that hard !!;)
StardustFebruary 11, 2010 at 6:03 pm
Ania_2000, what are you talking about? Americans definetly CAN party. Polish people CAN get drunk:) before they can party:))) New Orleans is one of my favorite places in US, I love IT!!! Have been there 3 times, but only once on Fat Tuesday, had a time of my life;))
ChrisFebruary 11, 2010 at 6:52 pm
Stardust – Thank you again for taking an interest in my blog. Without your introduction, very few Polish people would have found their way here. Isn't it funny that we have the same readership, you in America and me here?Aneta – Thanks for the kind words and I am glad to fascinate you with my writing. It's my own special czary mary.I guess I will eat another doughnut. Knowing that I have a huge plate of them and you all do not will make it taste even sweeter. So cruel, I know. Yum!
StardustFebruary 11, 2010 at 7:09 pm
Haha becouse of your post and the pics of doughnuts I had to go tu DD and got 2 doughnuts myself:)) Bad, bad girl, starudst:)) is not so smart eating paczki if you want to loos wieght:) Well Chris, it is funny, but becouse of your blog, I started to write more about my expiriences as an emigrant in US:)) So the benefits are on both sides.
małgośkaFebruary 11, 2010 at 9:19 pm
I have eaten 3 but one is still waitintg for me (and smiling 😉 Delicious but sinful ;))
UnknownFebruary 11, 2010 at 11:49 pm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AdvocaatThere is a scene in Stanley Kubrick's 'Shining' wheresome ghost party-goer spills advocat all over Jack'sjacket. I guess advocat is not completely unknown in America. 🙂
ChrisFebruary 12, 2010 at 9:58 am
When I started this post I asked some of my American friends \”what is Advocaat\” and some of them knew but most of them didn't. When I described it they thought I was talking about egg nog. That's why I was looking for a better description. I like the scenes in the Shining when they are in the big pantry. I can see all the packages and brands from my childhood years.
Bryan MischkeFebruary 12, 2010 at 12:45 pm
Hi! You don't know me, but I find is wonderful to read something from an America living in Poland. I doubt I'll ever get the chance to do so, but for now I think I'm just going to live through you vicariously, okay? :)As for the doughnuts, I think I've had these doughnut the last time I was in Poland and maaaan they were wonderful. I'm gonna have to try your method of eating it on a plate with pretty ladies catering me with kawa też… but I prefer herbata… 🙂 Smaaacznego… mmm.I'll have to ask if my friend's grandmother can make these too next time I'm around, hahaha…Anyways, I love your blog. It's actually extremely interesting compared to most I read.Do widzenia!
ChrisFebruary 12, 2010 at 3:45 pm
Bryan- You are welcome to live vicariously through me for the time being. I'm sure you'll esp. enjoy any future posts about given birth naturally 😉 I'm glad that you find my blog interesting. I was going to write \”I aim to please\” but that isn't really true 'cause I started to write my blog mostly to please me. It is nice that other people like it too.
hjustonFebruary 13, 2010 at 12:58 am
I live in Houston, and we have a Polish store here. Yesterday I bought 36 paczkow. Not all for me of course, but yes- I had 4 myself.Mleczko rocks!
fajny_nosorozecFebruary 13, 2010 at 2:36 am
Well..I guess I'm another one that is fascinated by an American living in Poland (I'm Polish living in America with my American husband). I found your blog through recommendation made on Hjuston's blog and I'm very excited to find out how it feels to be a foreigner in Poland 🙂
ChrisFebruary 13, 2010 at 3:53 pm
My own blog is refusing my comment! I will try again.Greetings to Hjuston. I posted on your blog today in Polish. Please forgive my errors.fajny_nosorozec- Living in Poland is like being on Candid Camera every day 🙂
heksitaMarch 5, 2010 at 5:44 pm
Hm, I think that \”ajerkoniak\” and \”adwokat\” are the same thing, only that \”advocaat\” is produced by Polmos and I think it is a registered name here (http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advocaat).So I think that you may translate \”adwokat\” as \”eggnog\” :).