By: Dennis Bates
Okay, so my renewed and healthy life style aka/ diet took a direct hit yesterday. A big one. After all, it was Fausnaught Tuesday, and if you don’t know what a Fausnaught is, you have my deepest and most heartfelt condolences.
A fausnaught is a heavy, crispy, cakey, deep fried donut that can be drizzled with chocolate, covered with candy sprinkles, rolled in table sugar, or, my personal favorite, liberally clouded in powdered sugar as soon as it is taken out of the hot oil. Emeril would say that’s when they are the most vulnerable. And when I say liberally clouded, I mean covered, smothered and totally obliterated in white powder so that the fiercest blizzard you have ever seen looks like light snow flurries by comparison. Believe me, fausnaughts are not the time to be conservative. Save that for politics or something that doesn’t matter as much.
Fausnaught is actually a German word for donut, and the tradition was that all the old batter and dough would be used up the day before Lent began, sort of like a Mardi Gras for donut lovers, I guess. But like so many words, there is no adequate translation in any language.
You just have to taste them. Notice, I said them. No way will you be able to stop with just one. Or two, for that matter. Most people buy them by the dozen and that’s per person. Of course, you feel like you’re carrying a bowling ball around in your stomach for most of the day Tuesday after you eat them. But that makes it easier to get into the more austere mood for Ash Wednesday, which is today.
I have to admit, my wife and I discovered fausnaughts when we lived in Pennsylvania. The local Catholic Church parishioners made them as fast as they could and sold them in front of the local church and the YMCA. People lined up well before dawn to make certain they got some. Yes, they are that good. Maybe better.
Let’s put it this way, for that one day at least, the entire town was Catholic. I often thought there might be a real ecumenical ministry there if only somebody would stop eating long enough to pursue it. Talk about the Pied Piper. All the local Priest would have had to do is walk down any street in town waving an intoxicating bag or two of fresh fausnaughts in the air and people would have followed him anywhere. Even Presbyterians like myself would have gone to Mass.
It’s a thought.
Anyway, my wife found her old recipe from a tried and true German cookbook yesterday, and, well, all you weak willed brothers and sisters can imagine what happened next. She couldn’t make them fast enough and we had to finally quit eating them because we promised my daughter we’d take her a dozen. Honestly, the things we parents give up for our children.
So, the long and short of it is I’ll try again next week. I’m not going near a scale today. I’m too busy sipping Alka Seltzer.
But it was so worth it!