My DH and I were on our way to the local delicatessen to buy potatoes for in a pot of Mamie Klinger’s Homemade Chicken Pot Pie that I was making today. My sister had her gall bladder removed yesterday and I made enough pot pie for her family and mine for this evening’s meal. I plan to steam some broccoli to give us all a bit of green to round out the meal. Anyway, I’m walking with my DH and Mickey, our shih-tzu, to buy potatoes at the delicatessen.
As we were walking along the cemetary side of the street, my husband looked across the street where there is a bus stop. He noticed an older woman bent over a walker. He was just about to hand me Mickey’s leash and run across the street when I said, “Oh, my goodness, Russ, even the elderly are texting!” She was so slumped over that he thought she was having a heart attack or stroke or something and needed help when I saw her iPad and her thumbs moving. I was struggling to get my camera out of my down coat pocket cause this was just too good to pass up. My husband just shook his head. By the time I was able to get a good focus on the woman (I was hiding behind a tree) she had finished her text and was standing upright. I was so bummed I missed that shot. It was a classic.
Anyway, we proceeded to the deli where I picked up my potatoes at the bargain price of 3 for $1.00. I asked the sweet young woman at the cash register if they had any fausnaughts. She stared at me blank. A woman about my age who was next in line rescued her by saying, “Oh, my Dear, fausnaughts are a type of donut some of us like to have the Tuesday before Lent begins.” The clerk continued to stare. It was beyond her, but the woman and I talked about our traditions together, bringing the young cashier along as we shared our experiences. The woman behind me was going to buy cookies, but because I was looking for fausnaughts, she became inspired and raced ahead of me to the bakery next door to check it out. From the store window I could see her shaking her head “no” as we passed the bakery on our walk back home. It’s good to have helpers in the hunt.
My husband went to the big grocery store about a half hour ago. Someone told us they sold fausnaughts there every Lenten season. He’s going to get a whole box of them for dessert for my sister and her family with a note about their significance–just in case she doesn’t know. She is 8 years younger than I. Who knows when such valuable information gets lost in the course of family events? The story behind the fausnaught is that German households would make the rich pastries to use up the rich ingredients they would not be needing during the fasting season called Lent, which begins tomorrow: Ash Wednesday.
In the German-American version of Shrove Tuesday, the traditional food is the fausnaught, a fried round donut dusted with powdered sugar. Fausnaughts are typically made out of potato dough and served with dark corn syrup. For many German-Americans, Shrove Tuesday is also referred to as “Fausnaught Day.” The fausnaughts in Germany are more likely to be savory and take the form of a pastry triangle made from milk, lard and mashed potatoes.