Family Carries On Jackson Paczki Legacy
With the help of 60 volunteers, this family in Jackson is carrying on a Polish family paczki tradition, making 500 dozen of the sweet treats in time for Fat Tuesday.
As Fat Tuesday quickly approaches (February 25th), bakeries and paczki makers everywhere are finalizing plans and preparing for the day everyone is out looking for the sweet, no-need-to-remind-us-how-fattening treats.
That's why, as MLive reported, volunteers gathered at the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Jackson to carry on a tradition started by Stasia Kistka years ago.
According to Kistka's daughter, Elaine Beasley, this tradition of everyone getting together is her mother's legacy.
It all started as a way for Kistka to be in touch with her Polish heritage, she gathered up her friends to all collaborate for the perfectly Polish paczki recipe and in 1962 they went from making them in their homes to doing it at the church's social center.
The tradition was carried out by Kistka until her passing two years ago which is when Dee Schell took over in overseeing the paczki-making process.
Schell says they did have to tweak the original recipe in order to get more treats out of it which has proven to be a helpful choice as they stopped taking orders on January 31st when they reached 500 dozen.
Beasley's brother Tim Kistka even makes the drive from Kalamazoo to help out and, this year, is taking 15 dozen back with him.
“You can’t get a paczki like this from any store,” Kistka said. “You see the ones advertised at Meijer or Walmart and those are not paczki. These are the original Polish recipe from 65 or 70 years ago.”
It is a long day but thanks to the hard work of family and many helpers shuffling shifts, this Fat Tuesday tradition is one that carries on yet again.