It’s a Chicago-area tradition – celebrating Fat Tuesday with Paczki Day. Basically, they are balls of fried dough stuffed with all kinds of fillings (DON’T CALL THEM A DONUT). Paczki is pronouced poonch-key, depending on who you ask. The idea is to eat these on Fat Tuesday before Lent kicks off. It’s a Polish tradition, and as I’m sure you are aware, Chicago has a huge Polish population.
This will be my 10th year working in Chicago TV, which has taken me to all kinds of locations on Paczki Day. This year, I hit the kitchen of the Zawaski family in Evergreen Park – in-laws to WGN reporter Patrick Elwood. Fran and Joanell Zawaski wake up at about midnight and start work on the 1,600+ paczki they will be making from scratch that morning. Those who are lucky enough to get on their list (mostly family and friends), pick up their order of paczki starting at 6:15am.
And they do it all for free.
It’s simply a family tradition – everybody gets together and chips in on the fun.
— Marcus Leshock (@marcusleshock) February 17, 2015
They were nice enough to host us all morning on the WGN Morning News. The entertainment was spectacular and the paczki were quite simply the best I have ever had.
Now if I could only get on that list…..