PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The basement of the Good Samaritan Church in Ambridge was like an assembly line Monday night.
Volunteers worked in perfect harmony carrying on a Polish tradition before Lent: paczki.
It’s a Polish doughnut covered in sugar.
The tradition began as a way of using up all the supplies in the kitchen that might be tempting when people often give up sweets for Lent.
So on Fat Tuesday, doors open at 5 a.m. at Good Samaritan to sell the 12,000 paczki that they make in 12 hours on Monday.
“The secret ingredient is the bourbon,” said Janet Duzicky, as she showed us the operation they have going on.
Rev. Joe Carr explained further: “It gives a slightly sweet taste to the batter, but as the alcohol evaporates, it spreads out. As they’re frying, it keeps the grease from going inside.”
There are numerous steps. The tables of volunteers who make sure each paczki is wrinkle free. More volunteers whose sole job is dip the doughnuts in sugar once they’ve cooled.
Not everyone in the room is Polish. In fact, in this combined parish, many nationalities are represented. But when it comes to the making of the paczki, everyone seems a little Polish today.
Good Samaritan charges $9 a dozen, but if want some paczki, plan to arrive early on Fat Tuesday. There’s often a line of people waiting when the doors open.
By the way, paczki is pronounced “poonch-key.”