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Putting the ‘Fat’ in Fat Tuesday, Northeast Ohio Style

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 5:30 AM

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Revelers in New Orleans, Tuesday, will be throwing strings of beads and dressing up in colorful costumes, before tomorrow's start of the more somber Catholic observance of Lent. While Mardi Gras may be one of the most famous pre-Lenten celebrations, many Northeast Ohioans have their own tradition of indulgence. ideastream's David C. Barnett tells us about a jelly donut that's long been making its contribution to "Fat Tuesday".

Photo Gallery

Thousands of Paczkis are cranked out every year, just before Lent. Marta Dudzinska watches over the mixer stirring up the dough for another batch of Paczkis. Polish-born Edyta Kuzniar and Marta Dudzinska are the Paczki Pros at Seven Roses Cafe.

The tiny kitchen in the Seven Roses Café in Cleveland’s Slavic Village is gearing up for its annual role as a Paczki factory.  You pronounce it “PUN-skeh”.


The Cafe’s Anastasiya Halabokava says that’s the Polish spelling for this pre-Lenten pastry. 

HALABOKAVA:  Before Lent starts, we have a Carnival time, and the last week of the Carnival you eat a lot of fatty stuff --- something you can eat and be full for the whole Lent time.

The six-week Lenten season is meant to be a time of fasting and reflection, leading up to Easter.  Paczki were created as a way for households to get rid of the temptations of sugar, eggs and fruit --- strictly forbidden during Lent.  Halabokava says the Paczki has deep roots in Polish culture.

HALABOKAVA:  A traditional family recipe usually goes from the mother to the daughter, from the grandmother to the daughter. 

Polish bakeries across Northeast Ohio have been turning out these Fat Tuesday treats for decades.  Last year, Seven Roses sold 5000 of them.

Additional Video

ideastream’s David C. Barnett paid a visit to the Seven Roses Cafe to see how Marta Dudzinska & Edyta Kuzniar create a fresh batch of Paczkis from scratch. (Production help from Robin Williams)


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