Saturday, December 4, 2010

316/365 - Pasty!

A cornish pasty on a plate.
Click the photo to see it on Flickr.

I can't allow a full 365 days to go by without showing off my favorite food -- the food I'd take with me to a deserted island (or more likely an abandoned mine) -- the pasty!

First, say it with me: PASS-tee. Definitely not paste-y. Pasties are basically a form of meat and vegetable turnovers. They typically are made with skirt steak or beef, potatoes, onions, and rutabaga -- plus a variety of seasonings. "Traditional" pasties often were divided internally by a bit of dough, and a fruit "dessert" was placed in one end.

The pasty originated in Cornwall, although those from next-door Devon are vociferous about their claim on its origins. Pasties were a common meal for Cornish miners, because they were a full meal in themselves. When the copper and tin mines of Cornwall began to fail, the Cornish miner began to emigrate, heading to any other mining regions that they could find -- and especially to America's first great mining region, the Copper Country.

Amusingly enough, pasties became so commonplace that even other ethnic groups (which generally kept themselves very separated from each other) too them to be their own. Finns in particular adopted them in the Copper Country, and when their relatives and friends came across the ocean, they figured that it must have been a Finnish creation!

Pasties are usually eaten with gravy or ketchup. I prefer ketchup myself. The exact dressing, as well as the exact way to make the crust, and the exact contents of the pasty, are subjects of downright holy wars. Always know who you're talking to, and be prepared to defend yourself!

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