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Happy Paczki Day! Join us for a yummy treat at the store …

February 17, 2012

I was born and raised in Chicago. During my youth the city had the second largest Polish population in the world (after Warsaw), but until last week I had never heard of Paczki Day! How is this possible?

I don’t know. But perhaps you’re in the same boat? Stop by the store on Tuesday and taste what Paczki Day is all about!

Here’s what I’ve learned. Paczki (pronounced “punch-key”) Day is a pre-Lenten celebration created in Poland to clean out the larder in preparation for the Lenten fasting required by the Catholic Church. In Poland it is celebrated on Fat Thursday, the week before Ash Wednesday. Americans of Polish descent, however, celebrate it on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, just like Mardi Gras or Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.

Central to the fun is this little treat …

Fried Dough Around the World” photo

Paczki are deep fried rolls made of  yeast dough and filled with fruit preserves such as strawberry, raspberry, prune, apricot, or even sweet cheese. The outside is dusted with sugar.

We’re serving them FREE at 1730 Outlet on Paczki Day, Tuesday, February 21.  And we’re getting them from Dinkels, an authentic European bakery right here in the neighborhood on Lincoln Avenue.  Okay, Dinkels isn’t a Polish bakery, but it’s one of the best bakeries in the city and I have it on good authority that the paczki are the real thing.

Stop by and have one, but come early because we figure they’ll go fast. While you’re there, check out what’s on sale for wholesale or less in our store, and be sure to visit our furniture showroom.

1730 Outlet . 1730 W. Wrightwood . Chicago. Mon-Fri 10-6 . Sat 10-5 .

Here’s a related story told many years ago by my Chicago History professor at Circle (now University of Illinois at Chicago, which shows you how long ago I graduated!).

Back at the turn of the 19th century an Asian gentleman immigrated to the United States and settled on Chicago’s West Side near the intersection of Ashland, Division and Milwaukee. He wanted very badly to become a citizen and so worked hard to immerse himself in the language so he could some day go downtown to city hall and understand the applications and forms. He kept close to home, depending on his neighbors to help him. Two years later he was convinced that he could speak well enough to venture out so he hopped on a streetcar and road to city hall where he asked to be directed to the office where he could apply for citizenship.  No one understood him because he was speaking Polish.

A fun little anecdote to illustrate the rich ethnic diversity that defined, and to a large degree still defines, Chicago.

Happy Paczki Day, everyone! I’ll be at the store on Tuesday chowing down on paczki.  Hope to see you there!

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