Time Travel Kitchen
A Pastry called Paczki, Sister Cities and José Andrés of World Central Kitchen
When I checked in with my friend Stygi in Warsaw this week, she told me what to look for in an authentic Polish Paczki. This fried dough treat (pronounced Poonch-key) is traditionally filled with plum or rose hip jam and is in bakeries throughout Poland on the last Thursday (Fat Thursday) before Lent begins.
“What’s most important is that the pastry and filling shouldn’t be too sweet. The sweetness should come from the frosting.” - Stygi
Warsaw and Chicago have been Sister Cities since 1960. As of 2021, there were 900.000 residents of Polish heritage in Cook County, Chicago. On Fat Tuesday, Chicagoans celebrate ‘Paczki Day’ and some bakeries open as early as 2am.
I reached out to Jennifer Billock (or, as I call her, ‘The Official Authority on Historic Bakeries’) for some background.
“The Paczki tradition started in Poland as a way to use up all the fats and sugars left in the house before Lent.” - Jennifer Billock
“When Polish immigrants came to the U.S., they brought the tradition with them and the day switched to Fat Tuesday here. In the 1950’s-70’s, Paczki started getting more popular in Chicago and other cities and ‘Paczki Day’ was born.”
“I love Paczki not just because they are delicious, but because the whole community comes together to enjoy them.”
“The more we are introduced to others through their food and interactions, the more we understand the nuances of the world.” - Jennifer Billock
If you’d like to read Jennifer’s recent article about Packzi, click here and for her newsletter click here: Kitchen Witch.
Visit Stygi’s Bi-weekly music newsletter ‘Mid-week Crisis’ by clicking here.
Chef José Andrés and World Central Kitchen on the border of Poland and Ukraine
Over the past week, Poland has received the largest number of refugees fleeing Ukraine.
And, of course, Chef and Humanitarian José Andrés is there with the organization he founded in 2010, World Central Kitchen.
Chef Andrés came to the United States from Spain in 1991, opening several award winning restaurants with his partners. He founded World Central Kitchen to ‘feed the many’, establishing culinary training programs as well as providing food disaster relief around the globe.
He has been traveling between the Polish border and Lviv in Ukraine, working with local restaurants in ramping up food production for distribution and having large amounts of ingredients donated and delivered to ensure people on both sides of the border have bread, soup, tea and hot meals.
As Chef Andrés says in one of the videos posted by World Central Kitchen this week:
“These are the heroes of Ukraine, too. There are many ways to fight the war.” - José Andrés , Founder of World Central Kitchen
Take care, Everyone.
Kate McDermott Writes about Hearth and Shelter
Borscht for Breakfast: Mia Billetdeaux writes about a Paczki Day Pause
Historical Supper Club : More Thoughts on Ukraine by Food Historian Sarah Wassberg Johnson
Aurelia Pucinski Chicago Sun Times: Chicago’s 900,000 residents of Polish Heritage have much to celebrate this month, October 26, 2021
A friend of mine just set up a fundraiser on Facebook to send $ to the World Central Kitchen. I donated and also shared the link to this article so others would know more about Jose Andres' amazing work.
Beautiful Jolene! ♥️