Every year, I make it my personal mission to visit a different Seattle donut shop on Fasnacht Day and educate the staff on why it is the greatest holiday ever (the response from staff typically ranges from polite head nodding to absolute disinterest). Now, you may know Fasnacht Day as Fat Tuesday but, I’m from Central Pennsylvania – land of the Pennsylvania Dutch – where we celebrate it a little differently there and you might want to follow our lead.
When I was little, Fasnacht Day was one of the most magical days of the year. Every church in the county spent the week making donuts. Our neighbors and friends would generally drop off a bag of the little treats. Schools distributed a donut with lunch. And Dunkin’ Donuts turned into Macy’s on Christmas Eve. Donuts were everywhere! And whatever donuts you couldn’t eat on Fasnacht day, you would close tightly in a bag and place in a freezer for the duration of lent. However, the magic of the holiday – and, quite frankly, the quality of the donuts – was never the same on the other side of lent, so they often went to waste.
Traditionally, Fasnachts were made with potatoes and whatever lard you needed to clear out of your pantry before Shrove Tuesday. I’m sure that’s how my grandmother made them but my generation usually relied on basic cake donuts or a trip to Dunkin’ Donuts. If you feel like going old school, I’ll share this recipe to get you started!
So, come tomorrow morning, I will be hitting up yet another local donut shop to spread the Fasnacht Day spirit. Don’t worry – you don’t need to get up early and get that potato batter rising – you can just stop by Stockbox and pick up a Mighty O Donut….I promise it will bring you the same happiness and spiritual fulfillment.