Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler This Fat Tuesday With Paczki or King Cake

With a name like Fat Tuesday, you can’t expect to celebrate with rice cakes and veggies. Just a heads up that none of these recommendations are going to go into the healthy eating category.

Mardi Gras King Cake. Image via Design Crush

For many Christians, Ash Wednesday kicks off Lent, a period when people are expected to fast or give up certain indulgences until Easter. In case you fell asleep in French class, “laissez les bon temps rouler” translates literally to “let the good times roll” and Mardi Gras is “Fat Tuesday.” Though celebrations vary from country to country, one thing that’s universally popular is eating rich, fatty foods to celebrate (just in case the name wasn’t a hint). If you want something a bit more special than your normal rich, fatty indulgence, we’ve got two suggestions: king cake and paczki.

Borrowed from the French, king cake (galette du roi in French) is popular in New Orleans. In France, they’ve all but disappeared from stores and bakeries since they’re normally eaten around Christmas there, but in the US today is prime selling season.  Now normally there’s a plastic or porcelain figurine baked inside. Having tried a French version, and nearly losing a tooth in the process, may we strongly suggest the substitution of a gummy bear, jelly bean, or something slightly less likely to require an emergency trip to the dentist? If your local grocer isn’t in the spirit, or you want to make your own but just don’t have the time to master French pastries (or Americanized versions), here’s a quick recipe to try.



{All Recipes}

Next up is  paczki. Although they look like jelly donuts, the dough is even more rich than that of your average, artery clogging bit of doughy goodness.

“In Poland, pączki are eaten especially on Fat Thursday (the last Thursday before Lent). Many Polish Americans celebrate Pączki Day on Fat Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday). Traditionally, the reason for making pączki was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house, because they were forbidden to be consumed due to Catholic fasting practices during Lent.

In the large Polish community of Chicago, and other large cities across the Midwest, Pączki Day is celebrated annually by immigrants and locals alike. In Buffalo, Toledo, Delta, Ohio, Cleveland, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, South Bend, and Windsor, Pączki Day is more commonly celebrated on Fat Tuesday instead of Fat Thursday. Chicago celebrates the festival on both Fat Thursday and Fat Tuesday, due to its sizable Polish population.” {Wikipedia}

You’ve already missed Fat Thursday (we’re on it for next year), but many smaller bakeries in the Midwest have you covered today. If you want to make your own, Food.com has a recipe for a slightly modified version that substitutes vegetable oil for lard, and comes in at a somewhat respectable 329 calories per paczki.

You’ll probably need an extra shot of the rum or brandy included when you get a look at the cholesterol and fat numbers, but that’s probably not the worst way to get the good times rolling.

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