If ever there was an excuse to load up on sweet treats and take indulgent eating to the next level, Fat Thursday is just the ticket. A celebration of all things dough-related, this Polish tradition offers a gilt-edged, guilt-free opportunity to gorge on doughnuts or paczki.
Paczki are traditional fried delicacies that contain rose jam. The idea behind Fat Thursday is treating the taste buds and enjoying the flavor of rich, decadent foods before Lent begins. Lent is a time that many people choose to cut out certain foods or alcohol, for example. In Polish, Fat Thursday is known as Tlusty Czwartek.
History of Fat Thursday
An appreciation of doughnuts is nothing new for the Poles, and it is believed that the tradition of buying and sharing paczki to celebrate Fat Thursday dates right back to the 16th century. Although the focus of the celebration hasn’t shifted throughout the ages, notes from history suggest that the recipe has evolved.
In the 18th century, well-known historian, Jędrzej Kitowicz, made reference to the density and texture of the doughnuts, joking that the contemporary light paczki was a marked improvement on the baked goods of old, which could have done some damage if scoring a direct hit to the face.
While Fat Thursday is often thought of as a means of treating oneself and indulging prior to a period of abstinence during Lent, the act of eating doughnuts is also believed to bring good luck in Poland. History suggests that it’s lucky to eat doughnuts and that those who refuse these sugar-coated, doughy delights face a run of misfortune.
Rose jam was traditionally used to fill the paczki, but today, there’s a variety of fillings on offer, including sweet, smooth vanilla custard, zingy strawberry jam, and silky, rich chocolate ganache.
There’s scope for a degree of creativity when it comes to crafting modern versions of traditional paczki, but all respectable chefs must comply with one request: every doughnut should be light and fluffy. Nobody wants to end up with something reminiscent of a medieval weapon.
How to celebrate Fat Thursday
The only way to celebrate Fat Thursday is to make like the Poles and take a trip to the bakery. This is a day to treat those taste buds and revel in the sugar high than ensues. In Poland, it’s common for lines for the most popular bakeries to stretch around the street on Fat Thursday.
It’s also a nice gesture to gift doughnuts to colleagues, friends, and relatives, so why not share the love and introduce others to the brilliant celebration that is Fat Thursday? Statistics indicate that the average person consumes 2.5 paczki, so don’t hold back!
With most people making a concerted effort to eat healthily, Fat Thursday offers the perfect excuse to enjoy a treat day and celebrate a much-loved morsel of confectionary that has delighted crowds throughout the ages. Eating doughnuts is not just a means of satisfying the stomach before Lent. According to folklore, stocking up on these delights is also bound to bring good luck. What’s not to like?