"Paczki" Polish Cooking Class, Polish National Alliance (PNA), Adams, Massachusetts, with Melissa Langenback, thebakersguide.com
Like many New England Mill towns, in the late 1800 and early 1900's, Adams, Massachusetts, drew a large immigrant population to live in the Berkshires and work at the textile mills in the area. Polish families, along with Italians and French Canadians, came to live in Adams and formed the backbone of the community during the heyday of the mills.
They brought many Polish traditions with them when they immigrated but over the years some of these traditions have started to fade. In an effort to maintain Polish cultural traditions in the Berkshires, the Polish National Alliance has started offering classes to locals interested in learning how to recreate the specialities of the traditional Polish kitchen in their own New England homes.
Melissa Langenback, herself descended from Polish immigrants to the area, learned to bake and cook in her grandparents' kitchen. She now passes on the tradition of making paczki, a filled Polish doughnut, eaten the day before Ash Wednesday, to her students from Adams and beyond.