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Fastnacht Day

Fastnacht Day is once again upon us. I'll be busy making fastnachts tomorrow morning in celebration. Since I don't have anything new to say from last year, or the year before, I'll just quote that entry one more time.

Doughnut Picture from Wikimedia CommonsDepending on where you are in the world, you may call tomorrow something else, like Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day. But from where I'm from in Pennsylvania, it's called Fastnacht Day. Traditionally, you make potato based donuts, called fastnachts, supposedly as a way to empty your larder of all the fatty, sugary foods in preparation for the Lenten fast. My elementary school even used to give out donuts with the lunches on this day. So, in celebration of Fastnachts, here's a recipe on my main site on how to make fastnachts, and a link to the (not so thorough) Wikipedia article.

You're supposed to wake up early to make the fastnachts on Tuesday morning (they're freshest that way), but I usually make them the night before. They keep pretty well in a brown paper lunch bag. I also like to put a little bit of powdered sugar into a ziploc bag, and a mix of granulated sugar and cinnamon into another one, to coat the fastnachts just before eating them.

Doughnut Picture from Wikimedia Commons

Added 2011-03-08 - I brought my fastnachts in to share at work today. The people who were here last year remember them from then, but almost all of the new people hadn't heard of them. Anyway, to see just how popular they are back up in Pennsylvania, go read this article. Look at those pictures, and just how many fastnachts they're making. And according to this article, bakers in Hagerstown started baking on Sunday night to meet today's demand.

A guy from Chicago mentioned a similar tradition up there - paczkis, from the Polish immigrants. But instead of a hole in the middle like my family's fastnachts (not all fastnachts have the hole), they have a filling, usually jelly or creme. I guess lots of groups have invented traditions to allow indulgence before a 40 day fast.


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