Here we are at the beginning of a frankly solemn religious season, yet what am I thinking of? How my Lenten promise to avoid sweets and snacks will surely result in a trimmer waistline! In preparation for the Lenten season, I even made Paczki for the first time… not because I was using up my lard and sugar before the long, 40-day fast, but because here in northern Michigan – where we have a significant population of Polish descent – Paczki are an anticipated treat from mid-January to Fat Tuesday. Heck, even the Irish among us are fans of these delectable fried dough balls filled with jelly, jam, custard, cream, and my husband’s favorite, sweet prune. The traditional Polish fillings for these better-than-doughnuts pastries are stewed plum jam or rose hip jam, but today you can find them with many other fruit jams, or the aforementioned custards and creams. They’re dusted with either powdered or granulated sugar, or they’re glazed. Sure, New Orleans has their Mardi Gras and 2021 Porch Parades, but up here through the long, dark winter, we live for Paczki Day!