Dozens of volunteers help prepare for Paczki push at Goodale’s Bakery
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
Volunteers are not hard to come by at Goodale’s Bakery, located in the heart of Grayling, when it comes to Fat Tuesday and selling and serving up hundreds of Paczkis.
Jan and Jim Crowell were at the bakery on Monday afternoon, helping make Paczkis, pronounced “punch-key” or “poonch-key,” from large rounded shapes of dough, coating them in an icing or powdered sugar and filling them with jelly, custard or cream.
Fat Tuesday was a tradition started by the Polish generations ago, the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten season. Making the sweet treats allowed them to get rid of excess sugar, shortening, and eggs in their homes and to create something special.
“This was a way of disposing of the temptation,” said Loren Goodale Jr., the owner of Goodale’s Bakery.
The indulgence has continued throughout the decades prior to the Lenten period, which continues up through Easter Sunday, when people try to avoid eating sweets.
The extra activity provides a cure for cabin fever for the Crowells. Jan was a bank employee, while Jim served as a tool and die maker.
“It’s better than sitting at home,” Jim said. “It gets us out of the house. We’re both retired.”
There are 48 Paczkis in every batch made. Jim said they enjoy the treats at the bakery, rarely taking them home.
“Not usually,” Jim said. “We get enough of them here.”
Jim and Goodale Jr. are brothers at the Grayling Masonic Lodge. Along with helping with the Paczkis, they also help prepare boxes for takeout orders from the bakery throughout the year.
Jan said she enjoys the conversations and friendships forged with customers.
“It’s fun to see the customers and meet the customers,” Jan said.
Earlier on Monday, 14 members from the Gaylord Evangelical Free Church were on hand to help out the Goodale family. Linda Goodale, who handles the night shift at the bakery, is a member of the church. She said members of congregation enjoy the fellowship and outreach while pitching in at the bakery.
“They love to meet people where they’re at, move them to where God wants them, and they just love to come and help us out,” Linda said.
Goodale’s Bakery opened in 1971. They started making Paczkis in 1992 after obtaining a recipe from a friend.
“The first year we made a few, and it’s been building up ever since,” Goodale Jr. said.
So what’s the difference between Paczkis and jelly-filled doughnuts? The answer is more shortening, sugar, eggs, and twice the filling.
But at Goodale’s Bakery, the goodies come with a extra, little-known perk.
“We sell the customers the Paczkis, but we don’t sell them the calories or the fat content,” Goodale Jr. said. “That’s all free.”
Four to five employees staff the bakery on Fat Tuesday to handle the Paczki rush.
“I have seen them lined up almost out the front door, waiting and trying to get their orders,” Goodale Jr. said.
One customer, who visits tool and die shops in northeast and southeast Michigan, purchased 30 dozen Paczkis on Monday to give to clients he calls on.
“Some of his shops that he goes to said if he doesn’t (have) our Paczkis, he doesn’t get their business,” Goodale Jr. said.
Goodale’s Bakery tracks the amount of Paczkis they make by the flour used, so they don’t count the Paczkis they make.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun,” Goodale Jr. said. “It’s nice to see people smile and they really like them and they have a ball.”
Loren Goodale III said Fat Tuesday gives business a boost and keeps cash registers ringing between the holiday season the spring, when tourism picks up.
“In the middle of winter, it’s a good shot in the arm,” Goodale III said. “It hurts the sale of doughnuts and other products very little.”