It was Polish King August III -- a monarch who was way more interested in kicking it around Europe and eating as much as he could than in ruling -- who is often credited with the paczki ditching savory for sweet. That's because he hired a bunch of French cooks to do their thing in his castle, and "their thing" wass making extremely delicious desserts. Lazy, yes. But this man gave us the paczki as we know it, so we'll forgive him.
They're a reason to party
In Poland, the pre-Lenten celebration goes down on Fat Thursday. In Polish-heavy Midwestern cities like Detroit, Cleveland, Green Bay, and Chicago, Fat Tuesday is known as Paczki Day. During the holiday, local bakeries sell tens of thousands of fresh pastries in the morning, with people lining up around the block to get them. There are also parades, eating contests, drinking, and a lot of naps. Basically, Paczki Day is like Mardi Gras, but with strings of beads replaced with beads of sweat that come with caloric overload.
You can get them in beer form
In a move that would make one Homer Simpson drool himself to the point of dehydration, beloved Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Brewery Vivant has its own Fat Tuesday tradition in the form of Fat Paczki, an annually released amber ale brewed with dried prunes and powdered sugar. The bad news is, it'll only be available at the brewery when it's released on Fat Tuesday. The good news is it pairs great with the brewery's insane duck & brie nachos.