Who knows what day it is today? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller?
It’s Fat Thursday, friends! Fat Thursday/Tłusty Czwartek/Giovedi Grosso! Today marks the harbinger for the beginning of Lent. Sometimes Fat Tuesday takes me by surprise, but hey man, if the menu says pancakes, Lent is already nigh. Fat Thursday (Thanks European heritage!) gives me a nice buffer to get my act together. And, yaknow, eat giant, pillowy doughnuts filled with rose marmalade and plum jam (or lemon curd and raspberry jam. That’ll work, too). I mean, can you think of a more joyous reason to fall face-first into a boxful of jelly filled donuts? And if you’re doing it right, you’ve got a box of Pączki. You pronounce it Pooosh-ka. Poooooooosh-ka. Great pastries and a fun word to say over and over and overandoverandover? Yes please!
Now, I know that Catholicism and Science don’t always seem to work well together but I can tell you, science has proven that the absolute best way to prepare for Lenten fasting is to carbo-load with a box of Pączki. OK. So it’s possible that this isn’t *real* science. Your mileage may vary, but I feel like I can get impartial Fat Tuesday revelers to testify.
Back in the day, when Lent started, it was The Great Fast for RC Kids. There was a giant list of stuff you didn’t eat for 40 days, and you couldn’t be just trusting yourself to just put the sugar on the high shelf and not use it during that time, and the rendered lard would spoil. I get it, you can’t just hide the Fudgee-o’s and the Miss Vicky’s if you’re trying to eat clean, right? So, to avoid temptation and waste, you had to use up all the forboden stuff. So now, once you’re feral from the sugar in the delicious, delicious Pączki, there’s no better opportunity to clean out all the foodstuffs that are forboden from your larder, pantry, and secret-snack-stashes, am I right? See? That right there is Science.
So here we are, on Fat Thursday. Apparently, some countries needed a bit more time to get the fat, sugar, and good stuff like that out of the larder, so they had to start earlier than Fat Tuesday. Fat Thursday is 5 days before Lent starts, so you can binge like a boss before you have to be a Responsible Catholic. This is totally a thing in many countries with big Catholic communities, like Italy, and Greece, and Germany. And Poland – Oh boy, they know how to do Easter in Poland.
Polish just happens to account for half of my genetic constitution. So, in honour of my mother’s heritage, it’s pączki. It’s all about the doughnuts today. Funfact: Every Pole eats two and a half pączki on Fat Thursday. It’s your CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY. There’s even a great idiom: Those who don’t eat a stack of pączki on Fat Thursday will have an empty barn and their field destroyed by mice”. You don’t want to risk that, do you?
And really, in semi-related science news, pączki is an excellent warm up training round for Tuesday’s pancakes. You don’t just decide to run the Boston Marathon the day before, do you? No. You don’t. You train for it. This is totally the same principle.
So here it is. This starts the Spring Cleaning of my Soul project for 2019. Buckle in, kids. We’re preparing The Way.