You say poonch-key, I say paczki so let’s try something new.

Don Rush

Yup, it started off as a simple enough task. Make up an ad for Clarkston grocery story, Neiman’s Family Market promoting their “made from scratch” Fat Tuesday special. It’s a wonderful Polish tradition marking the last day to indulge before Ash Wednesday and the Lenten season, and I was pumped.
Said I to Mr. Nate Neiman, “No problemo, Dude! I love Paczki Day!”
I quickly sketched out and mocked up an ad, acquired the desired photo of Neiman’s two bakers (together they have like 80 years of baking under their belts) holding a tray of the pastries with Nate enjoying himself while eating one.
Our composition department put it together based on my sketch and instructions — make sure this headline is highlighted, “Order Your Paczkies Today!” The client liked the finished product and we ran it — sending the message out to over 18,500 addresses. Done and done — or so I thought.
As an added-value to our client, I took a picture of the ad and posted it on a number of Clarkston area – themed Facebook pages. Within about three-point-two nano seconds of my posting, my computer devices started pinging. Hmm? What have I done wrong now? (And, why do I automatically think I have done something wrong — armchair therapists out there, feel free to chime in).
Under the picture of our ad Keith Lukaszek typed, “First rule about Paczki is to never buy them from someplace that doesn’t even know how to spell them,” and then added, “Repeat after me . . . Paczki is already plural, Paczki is already plural . . .”
Well, I am man enough to admit when I am wrong, however, always skeptical, I did not automatically take Keith’s word for it. I quickly Googled, “What is the singular of Paczki?”
The answer I received was “paczek.”
Huh! Who woulda’ thunk it? Still not satisfied, I then turned to my go-to token Polish person for verification — my sons’ very own mother Jen (her maternal grandparents emigrated from Poland, and her mother and aunt both speak Polish).
Texted I, “Did you know Paczki is plural for Paczek?”
Ping! Jen texted her reply, “I had no idea, they’re going to revoke my Old Polish Lady card!”
Just for fun, I asked her, she who had spent a number of weeks visiting relatives in Poland, how to pronounce the singular form of paczki. Her best guess was “paah-zek” with “emphasis on the first syllable.
There you go, you and I and everyone else who does not know Polish now knows Paczki is plural. So, next year, do not ask for “a” paczki, ask for “a” paczek. Thanks for the schooling, Keith!

Raspberry paczek and coffee in my Oxford office.

* * *
It’s good to know my eavesdropping reporter skills are still on point. Was at a local restaurant this weekend and overheard this gentleman talking about his cousin, who happens to be one of the owners of the Cops and Doughnuts bake shop in Clare. Heard I, “they’re going to start making 26,500 paczki tomorrow.”
Wow! That’s a lot of Polish pastries.
* * *
I believe my favorite paczek filling is raspberry. So for more fun I went online and found myself on the website Nutritionix.com. Did you know the raspberry filled paczek has 390 calories? How long would it take to burn off those 390 calories? Walking at three miles per hour, 105 minutes; Running at six mph, 38 minutes; Bicycling at 10 mph, 54 minutes.
Yikes, I have a habit of eating paczki, not a paczek. I may need to rethink this habit. (Maybe.)
* * *
I was thinking, there’s this donut shop in Oxford called DK Donuts & Burgers. They will serve your burger with all the fixings in between a sliced donut. Hey, don’t knock it until you try it. Those donut burgers are actually pretty darn good. Anyway, so here’s my idea, my contribution, if you will, as an American of Irish and Scot and Hillbilly heritage to this glorious Polish tradition: Instead of filling the paczek with cremes or jellies, fill it with salt and peppered scrambled eggs (maybe a little Tabasco sauce, too). Or maybe sausage and gravy paczki?
Don’s Breakfast Paczek sounds delish! A little sweet, a little salt and a little hot. YUM! And, I am sure there would be fewer calories, which is another bonus. The only thing I can think of that would be better than one breakfast paczek would be a whole slew of them.
Hey, how about this? How about making Finger Paczki? Instead of the size of a grapefruit, make paczki the size of plums — that would make the calorie count drop about 50 percent and that way guys like me could put one on each of our fingers, thereby allowing us to eat more than one!
Let’s do some ciphering. One finger paczek would be about 195 calories, multiplied by five fingers, equals only 975 calories. Well, I still think it’s a good idea and can’t wait to see my suggestions taken to the bakery for next year. Polish people, you’re welcome.
Send your comments for that Paczek-loving Don to DontRushDon@gmail.com

 

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