Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What's a fastnacht and why is everyone in the Lehigh Valley talking about them today?

For those of you who are *brand* new to the Lehigh Valley, today may be your first Fastnacht Day.

Regardless of whether you are Catholic, observe Lent or celebrate Ash Wednesday, natives and transplants alike indulge in a tradition the Pennsylvania Germans/"Dutch" called Fastnacht Day (literally, "Fast Night," or the night before the fast).

To prepare for the fast and use up the good stuff people traditionally give up for Lent, bakeries and fire houses fry up doughnuts made of potatoes, sugar, shortening, and butter or margarine. Yes, I said shortening! I found a great recipe for making them at home in the deep fryer, but I usually get one from my neighbor (ironically, she offered one to me this morning after my four-mile run). If I don't get one from Cara, I usually hit up Wegman's to buy them, since I always forget to pre-order from Schubert's Bakery (49 N. Broad St., Nazareth) and Egypt Star Bakery (2225 Macarthur Rd, Whitehall). The Morning Call suggested a few other places to get your fastnacht.

I'm not a huge fan of fastnachts, but I do like to have one (or part of one) every year on Fastnacht Day for good luck. If you want to feel like a true Lehigh Valley native for a day, talk about fastnachts like having one is an annual tradition you look forward to and put one in your mouth.

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