Comment permalink

Pasties, Periogis And Paczkis – Say What?

In Michigan, there is a rich ethnic heritage dating back to the fur trappers of the 1700’s. From Detroit to the Sault Ste. Marie, those earlier French settlers left their mark. As good as a croissant may be, it was the later immigrants from Cornwall and Poland that left us some of the tastiest treats.  

A pasty, not to be confused with the infamous pastie, is pastry dough filled with diced meat, potatoes, onions and turnips. The yummy package was then baked and, according to tradition, carried down into the copper mines and eaten for lunch by the hard-working crew.

Perogies are made across Eastern Europe; each region has their own slight variations and twists. The Polish version, readily available across the state, is pastry dough filled with potato, potato cheese, sauerkraut or a dry farmer’s cheese. They are par-boiled then fried to a crisp, golden brown and served with sour cream. The ones found in your grocer’s freezer section do not do them any justice.

New Orleans may have Mardi Gras but Detroiters have Paczki Day. Traditionally only eaten on Fat Tuesday, paczkis are deep fried, jelly-filled donuts on steroids. Seriously, they are huge. Every year the news reporters try to analyze the fat content and it is rumored to be close to an entire day’s worth of calories.  You would never know it from the lines of people around the bakeries in Hamtramck. In fact, people start lining up by 3 and 4 in the morning to get their hands on a dozen or so.