Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Fastnacht Day!

Happy Fastnacht Day ~ Shrove Tuesday ~ Mardi Gras!

[This will be a long post…lots to celebrate before the fasting begins.]

What is a fastnacht? It is like a doughnut only made of yeast-raised potato dough and shaped like a diamond or rectangle.

The Pennsylvania Dutch/German would slice these in half and pour molasses on them (many still do this). Now you can find them covered in powdered sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon sugar, glazed, or (my favorite) plain…so you can add your own molasses or karo syrup or Turkey Brand Table Syrup.

Fasnacht translates to “Eve of the Fast.” In the cultures that celebrate this “holiday,” making fastnachts was a way to use up the extravagant ingredients that weren’t to be used during Lent. [Lent is the 40-day period of fasting and reflection Christians observe before Easter.]

In the early days (18th & 19th centuries), whatever fat was leftover from the process was spread on farm tools preparing them for the spring planting season.

Our church makes fastnachts each year to help raise money for the Bear Creek Campers’ Scholarships. The group varies in size and starts working Sunday after noon through today when the sell out of their wares. They’ve made the news several times. The past few years they have made over 350 dozen fastnachts. Church smells like fry oil into the next week.

I hear that some cultures celebrate Shrove Tuesday by eating pancakes and that the big treat for Mardi Gras is King Cake.

Even More From Germany!

[Fastnachts came from our German (and maybe Dutch) ancestors.]

Tea of the day: Glücks Tee or Fortune Tea. What a perfect combination with your fastnacht. This is a red tea or rooibos blend with cocoa shells, cinnamon, anise, licorice, and vanilla. It comes in tea bags.

I like to the let the hot water stir up the final mix, so I add my sweetener and milk (if necessary) and tea bag to the cup at the same time then pour hot water over all. Read your brewing instructions and suggestions. This one suggested I use honey instead of sugar; it made a HUGE difference in the final taste of the tea. So did letting it steep for 8 minutes instead of just 3.

Past experiences tasted good, but not quite right. A flavor/taste would stick out oddly. This time…WOW! I could taste the cocoa, but the spices blended better and it just made me feel nice.

The Glücks Tee is another selection from the Alnatural adventskalender box we discussed earlier this month.

First Gown (Not AG)

Time to dress up for a fancy party! In the first year or so I didn’t have a fancy outfit to wear at Christmas. [Xyra regrets not getting me the Garnet Holiday Outfit & Accessories (only available in 2001)…especially since the garnet is our birthstone.] Xyra found this gown at a Frederick Mennonite Community craft fair.

The fabric is a sturdy, multi-color striped brocade or taffeta. Some of the stripes have a metallic shine to them. See how they shimmer in the picture. The ankle-length gown has a fitted bodice embellished with lace and beadwork; long, puffed, sleeves with ruffled cuffs; and high collar.

This picture was taken after 2004 and incorporates the muff, shoes, and tights from the Winter Magic Outfit (we’ll talk about that one in more detail another day).

See how nicely this gown fits. The collar doesn't sag or droop forward. The bodice is close to my body without being too tight or too loose. The person who made this gown must have had her own doll to use as a “dressmaker’s dummy” and knew how to tweak the pattern.

Notice how all the stripes are straight either vertically or horizontally. The front is beautiful. The back doesn’t quite line up as nicely around the Velcro closure; luckily when my hair is down that’s hidden. J This was a successful find. J A really nice gown for fancy days.

Have a great day! Don’t forget to do a little celebrating today!


  1. Yum!!! Yesterday my mom made a lot too and I took some into school and everyone raved about them!! Oh they are so good!!

    1. I had two from my aunt yesterday and have two different ones today from a local bakery. Love these once a year treats!
      I'm glad to hear your classmates liked them too. :)