The day before Ash Wednesday is known as Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday.  In New Orleans it's the last day of Mardi Gras and for many Christians it’s a day to party it up, to eat their favorite foods and drink their favorite beverages.

Because Lent is a period of fasting with people giving up some of their favorite things - things like desserts.  Some people even give up drinking.

A Polish tradition here in this area and other cities with a heavily Polish heritage is the Pazcki – pronounced Poonch-key. I've seen a number of different spellings of it, but basically it's a big jelly donut.

It’s an old Polish tradition of using up all of the household’s fat, sugar, eggs and fruit before Lent and often they would include heavy amounts of butter and lard.  Usually they’re filled with jelly, but sometimes they have cream or custard or chocolate, then covered with powered sugar.

I think you can see why it’s called Fat Tuesday.  At one time only Polish bakeries in the city would offer Paczcki, but you can find them in almost any grocery store as Lent approaches each year.