Dear Crabby, What’s the Big Deal About ‘Fat Tuesday?’

Dear Crabby,

I just moved from Oklahoma to Detroit and nearly every morning on my way to work I stop by the local bakeshop for coffee and a muffin. The other day I noticed the owner put out a big sign that read, ‘Order your paczkis today!’ Can you tell me what a ‘paczki’ is, because I’ve never heard of them, but they sound like they are a big deal around these parts.

Thanks, Sally Sooner

Dear Sally Sooner,

Paczkis sound like they’re a big deal? Try a HUGE deal! The reason you probably haven’t heard of them is because they’re mostly popular in the Midwest states that have a large Polish population. In Michigan, Hamtramck is the Paczki epicenter. Folks in Hamtramck, and pretty much all of southeastern Michigan, celebrate Paczki Day by lining up at various bakeries at the crack of dawn to get their prized paczki. Some of the local bars even host parties with live entertainment, starting as early as 7 a.m.!

The mistake a lot of people make is thinking that a paczki is just a glorified donut. I wouldn’t advise ever expressing that opinion out loud or else you could wind up in the Detroit River. That’s how seriously people around these parts take these delightful confections. Paczkis are deep-fried pieces of dough-shaped flattened spheres filled DearCrabbywith a sweet filling such as apple, Bavarian cream, blueberry, custard, strawberry, and my personal favorite, raspberry. Then they are covered with powdered sugar, icing, or bits of dried orange zest. It’s like angels singing in your mouth. And trust me when I tell you that you don’t even want to know how many calories are in one paczki. I mean, there’s a reason why you eat them on ‘Fat Tuesday.’ Oh do I remember waiting for my dad to bring home a box of paczkis after he got off working the night shift at the plant. I could always smell them before he took a step inside the door. My siblings and I were salivating by the time dad put them on the breakfast table. Of course we were all flying high on sugar by the time we reached school, but it was worth it. And trust me when I say once you’ve had a honest-to-goodness paczki, you’ll be able to spot a fake a mile away. I can’t tell you how many of my friends who retired to Florida or Arizona I make jealous every year because they can’t get the good stuff where they live. Once, a friend offered me $100 bucks to send him a dozen. That’s how awesome paczkis are.

So make sure you grab a paczki on Tuesday, February 17 and welcome to the neighborhood!

Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Go to and ask your question.

About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

Speak Your Mind