A Healthier Michigan has a nice look at the history of Paczki Day in Michigan:
The making and indulging in paczki (pronounced “poonch-key”) dates back to the Middle Ages. During that time, people in Poland would make pastries to use up all of their lard, sugar, eggs and other decadent ingredients before beginning Lent (a period of 40 days where Christians cut out certain foods like sweets or dairy and avoid eating meat on Fridays). Back then, the rich pastries were filled with pork fat. The more modern versions are a lot sweeter, often filled with fruit jelly (commonly raspberry, apple or lemon) or custard and dusted in powdered sugar.
When Polish immigrants came to the United States—especially Midwestern cities like Detroit, Chicago, Green Bay and Cleveland—at the beginning of the 20th century, Paczki Day came with them. And it’s been celebrated here on Fat Tuesday ever since.
FYI, paczkis often clock in at over 1000 calories & 30 grams of fat so no, they are definitely not the best of health foods but a perfect Fat Tuesday treat!!
Corey took a picture of this nice assortment of Paczkis from Benny’s Bakery in Saline back in 2020 at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business library. Head over to Flickr for his latest which includes pics of Runyon, an adorable pup.