Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Today I am grateful for Fat Tuesday! Finally, I have my day, the day of all days, when I can be fat without judgement or disapproval! And because I live in Pennsylvania I am further blessed.
The custom here is to eat at least one Fastnacht, which are small pillow donuts made with a mixture of lard, flour and mashed potatoes, then tossed with abandon in powdered sugar or regular sugar. Or left plain, but what fun is that? How bad can they be? You had me at mashed potatoes. Oh, happy day!
The tradition stems from today being the day before the beginning of lent, which starts tomorrow. Women (yes, only the women cooked back then) would try to use up all of the fattening things in their cupboards because they did not allow themselves to have them once lent began. I have no clue how mashed potatoes came into that mix, but I’m sure someone can enlighten me.
Churches all over my region have been gathering with their committees and truck loads of ingredients, preparing to fry those little pillows in vats of hot grease. There is nothing like vats of hot grease to make your mouth water. Or is it just me? Disgusting. Blissfully disgusting.
Men, women and even children all have jobs that have been assigned to them for years and years. Then away-they-go, preparing and frying, then selling their puffy pillows of naughtiness. People sign up for bags and bags of them, standing in line longer than they would to vote, just so they can eat them today, when they are supposed to bring good luck.
Great. One more fattening thing that brings good luck! The Pennsylvania Dutch have a lot of them. Sauerkraut and pork roast on New Year’s Eve; funny cakes that aren’t funny at all; shoo-fly pie, which I shudder to think how it got THAT name. I’m not making this up. Everything that lands on your hips brings you good luck. Apparently.
Does that mean kale is bad luck? The very worst luck of all? For many people it’s not even considered an edible food. It’s a garden border decoration. No church groups are meeting to toss a kale salad into your hands today. There is no vat of grease for kale, no party, no line of people drooling to purchase it. Poor kale. Who cares? No one. Not even kale.
Today is the day of Fastnacht’s and sugar and tubs of hot grease. Oh, I’m not having one today. I had mine yesterday when one of my friends brought some to the YMCA. I’m hoping the luck transfers to today. But I don’t know why I bothered to eat it. I should have just shoved it down my pants, because that’s where it’ll land anyway! Happy Fat Tuesday! My day of all days!