‘Fat Tues­day has never been so P-H-A-T’

Kiedrowski’s Sim­ply De­li­cious Bak­ery holds an­nual Paczki Day be­fore start of Lent

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - FRONT PAGE - By Keith Reynolds kreynolds@morn­ingjour­nal.com @MJ_KReynolds on Twit­ter

Tim Kiedrowski took a mo­ment to rest Feb. 13 while stand­ing in the mid­dle of the whirl­wind of ac­tiv­ity in the bak­ery he and his wife, Terri, started over 30 years ago.

It was time for the an­nual Fat Tues­day or Paczki Day fes­tiv­i­ties at Kiedrowski’s Sim­ply De­li­cious Bak­ery, 2267 Cooper Fos­ter Park Road in Amherst.

While 25 work­ers and vol­un­teers buzzed around the kitchen, Kiedrowski be­gan to rem­i­nisce on where the cel­e­bra­tion be­gan and how it has grown.

“In 1985, we started with 20 dozen and we’d hoped to sell all 20,” he said.

“We had like six left over, and I said ‘You know, I think we just got to keep this tra­di­tion go­ing.’”

Polka mu­sic mixed with the sound of chat­ter­ing pa­trons and the slap of dough bounc­ing around the bak­ery’s Ho­bart in­dus­trial mixer.

Kiedrowski said he was hop­ing 2,000 peo­ple would make it through the lengthy line to get their paws on the doughy de­lights.

Last year, he said there were about 1,900 vis­i­tors who bought about 85,000 of the treats and he hoped to sur­pass that.

“It’s a tra­di­tion that we’ve built up over the past 33 years,” Kiedrowski said. “It’s re­ally a lot of fun. It’s just to bring back what I grew up with in the 50s and the 60s.”

Kiedrowski said his pas­sion for paczki stems from his close ties to his Pol­ish

her­itage and many of the fes­tiv­i­ties at the bak­ery re­flect that; such as the polka tunes sup­plied by Johnny Squeeze, the tra­di­tional six fla­vors of paczki and the shots of So­bieski and Fire­ball Kiedrowski dis­persed to those brav­ing the cold.

“I grew up with that,” he said. “My mom would fry paczki at home and I would have a lit­tle pa­per bag and I would shake it in sugar.

“We per­fected the out­come of how they are now and we’ve im­ple­mented all the dif­fer­ent fla­vors from peo­ple who have come from Poland and told us what they use.”

Kiedrowski said the bak­ery only car­ries six fla­vors to keep it sim­ple for the cus­tomers.

Those six fla­vors are: plain with sugar, apri­cot, lek­var (or prune), rose, poppy seed and this year’s se­cret fla­vor, edel­weiss.

Kiedrowski said events like these are im­por­tant, be­cause they are a link to Lo­rain’s past.

“I feel like I have the heart of Lo­rain in me,” he said. “I grew up here since I was born in 1955. I still go up and down Broad­way

and re­mem­ber the good old days.

“I try to bring it for the younger peo­ple to see what it was like to have a fam­ily busi­ness and just to keep the tra­di­tion of Lo­rain alive.”

Lo­rain is such an eth­nic town, he said while dodg­ing a rack of fresh edel­weiss paczki on their way to be sold.

“The Puerto Ri­cans, the pol­ish, the Yu­gosla­vians, the blacks, ev­ery­body,” Kiedrowski said. “We all work to­gether, man, and all too many times, peo­ple sep­a­rate that.

“But when you have some­thing like this, it brings ev­ery­one to­gether.”

This year’s fes­tiv­i­ties proved to be even more of a fam­ily af­fair as 10-year-old Ben Kiedrowski, of Brunswick, took his first turn at slap­ping the dough.

Ben, the grand­son of Tim and Terri Kiedrowski, asked his teach­ers for the day off so he could help the fam­ily, and they granted him per­mis­sion.

He wasn’t alone in ex­pe­ri­enc­ing his first case of what Tim Kiedrowski calls “paczki fever.”

Across the work table were Sis­ter Page, 19, and Sis­ter Bai­ley, 22, both of Salt Lake City.

They de­clined to give their last names.

The Mor­mon mis­sion­ar­ies said they were mak­ing their rounds knock­ing on doors when they ran into Terri Kiedrowski.

“We were out knock­ing on doors, and I guess we gave her our card and told her we would help,” Bai­ley said with a laugh. “And she called us up and asked if we’d help make donuts. We said ‘Of course.’”

The pair said they’d never ex­pe­ri­enced the sin­gu­lar plea­sure of eat­ing paczki be­fore, but af­ter their first bite, they said they were hooked.

“It’s so good,” they said in uni­son.

They agreed their work at Kiedrowski’s was the best part so far of their 18 month mis­sion trip to Ohio.

Also ex­pe­ri­enc­ing her first paczki was Han­nah Gan­nelli, of Amherst, who was cel­e­brat­ing her 20th birth­day.

When word spread through the line, Johnny Squeeze laid down the birth­day song in his sig­na­ture style.

Gan­nelli and an el­der man be­hind her in line be­gan to polka.

Gan­nelli and her friend Kasie Bar­rett, 23, also of Amherst, were out on birth­day ad­ven­tures planned by Gan­nelli’s mother, Kelli Gan­nelli.

Kelli Ganelli said she was giv­ing her daugh­ter a gift of ex­pe­ri­ences, and be­cause they are Slove­nian, a trip to get paczki was “in their blood.”

Both Han­nah Gan­nelli and Bar­rett said they en­joyed their time in­side the store.

Gan­nelli ex­pressed her plea­sure by slap­ping a pair of neon green rally sticks in ex­cite­ment. “It’s awe­some,” she said. “Fat Tues­day has never been so P-H-A-T,” Bar­rett said with a laugh.

ERIC BONZAR — THE MORN­ING JOUR­NAL

Mis­sion­ar­ies Sis­ter Page, left, and Sis­ter Bai­ley of Salt Lake City, ex­pe­ri­ence paczki for their first time Feb. 13, dur­ing Kiedrowski’s Sim­ply De­li­cious Bak­ery’s Fat Tues­day cel­e­bra­tion. The women, from The Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints, came to Ohio seek­ing missionary work.

ERIC BONZAR — THE MORN­ING JOUR­NAL

Han­nah Gan­nelli, 20, of Amherst, cen­ter, cel­e­brates her birth­day — and Fat Tues­day — Feb. 13, with her mother, Kelli Gan­nelli, right, and friend Kasie Bar­rett at Kiedrowski’s Sim­ply De­li­cious Bak­ery.

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