But really, what today REALLY is, in my little white ethnic world, is Faschnacht Day. How does this sound?
"Fasnachts, Fastnachts or Faschnachts are a fatty doughnut treat served traditionally on Fastnacht Day, the day before Lent starts. Fasnachts were produced as a way to empty the pantry of lard, sugar, fat and butter, which were forbidden during Lent. Some English-speaking Protestants tend to refer to the day as Shrove Tuesday, and many consume pancakes as an alternative." (from Wikipedia)
Not just a donut! A fatty donut! Life was good in my rural Pennsylvania Dutch elementary school, yall. Faschnachts all around! Made by someone's mother, no doubt. Not my own, she being horrified at being transplanted from the midwest to the godforsaken Pennsylvania Dutch heartland. She still won't eat scrapple. I think she is horrified that she has children who do. We don't discuss it much.
But I digress (I have always wanted to say that). Seriously, Faschnacht Day was a big party day, and we marked it every year in school with some heritage education of some sort. I don't think I remembered about the Lent thing until I looked it up just now, but there you have it, the spotty memory of a child drugged by fresh homemade donuts.
Here is a recipe, borrowed from Cooks.com. I just like to read it through and savor the words. Not to make them, which would surely get me kicked out of Seattle and anyway what would I do with 5 dozen faschnachts? And yall, some recipes call for adding mashed potatoes to the dough.
2 c. scalded milk, cooled
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 oz. yeast in cakes
1/4 c. butter, melted
5 to 7 c. flour
Mix ingredients with wooden spoon. Add flour to make a dough, not too stiff. Cover and let rise to double in bulk. Punch down and let rise again. Roll out to 3/4 inch. Cut to round donut (use glass or donut cutter without hole). Cover and let rise again. Fry in deep fat until golden brown, 375 degrees. Turn once. Total time about 3 minutes. Drain on brown paper and roll in granulated sugar. Makes about 5 dozen donuts.
This is an old Pennsylvania Dutch recipe. Faschnacht Day is Shrove Tuesday and everyone eats Faschnachts on that day. Eat them all up as they are not as good the next day.