Here in Central PA, today, the day before Ash Wednesday, is Fasnacht Day. Not Shrove Tuesday, not Fat Tuesday, not Mardi Gras. Fasnacht Day. It’s a day to indulge, but not the way it is done in New Orleans or other places. No, it’s doughnut day. Woo ha!
A Fasnacht is a fried doughnut consisting of lard, sugar, butter and flour. Want a heart attack? Eat one of these. I’ve lived here for 16 years and have eaten a total of one, because that was all I could stand. Just the thought of eating one makes my stomach shrivel. It’s one of those things that stays with you for days and feels like your carrying around a lump of coal in your stomach.
Traditionally, Fasnachts were made not to celebrate, but to rid the pantry of those items not allowed during Lent., i.e., the fat used to prepare so many of the Pennsylvania Dutch recipes. Sometimes, the doughnuts are made with potatoes. So many traditional PA Dutch recipes are made with potatoes, butter or lard and flour. Very starchy and somewhat bland (in my opinion).
One doesn’t have to go very far around here to find a Fasnacht. Churches, community centers, nursing homes, fire companies, just about every religious or civic organization is selling them today. I won’t be buying…
Very soon, another PA Dutch tradition will arrive in time for Easter-Peanut Butter Eggs. Watch for ’em!
Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!