What is International, Protected, and a Chameleon? #MedievalMonday
The Pasty (Pas Tee)
(Althea’s favorite food)
The pasty is basically a meat and vegetable turnover. The original ingredients are thought to be beef, potato, swede (turnip-like vegetable), and onion. It is a chucky meal as all the ingredients are cut into fairly large pieces. Many of today’s recipes call for smaller pieces.
It is thought to have been made first around the 1300’s in Cornwall—the most southwestern peninsula of Great Britain. A recipe appeared in a cookbook by LeViandier about 1300.
As the mines of 19th century Cornwall neared depletion, the miners began to seek employment in other countries—bringing the pasty to Australia, Upper Michigan Peninsula, Central Montana, Scranton Pennsylvania area, Mineral Point Wisconsin, Mexico, and South Africa. In Michigan, each mid-June is the Pasty-Fest in Calumet. Real de Monte, Mexico has opened a museum dedicated to the pasty.
There is speculation that miner’s held the crimped edge while eating. This edge was left in the mine to keep from ingesting arsenic, a common mineral in tin mining. Some legends suggest the crimped edge was left to appease the knockers—ghosts that warned of a cave collapse with a knocking noise.
Today the Cornish pasty has European Protected Geographical Indication status—ensures that only products genuinely originating in that region are allowed to be identified as such in commerce. Cornish pasties are only made in Cornwall. This small region produced 87 million pasties in 2008.
There are many references to pasties in literature:
• Erec and Enide by Chretien de Troyes, 1170
• The Canterbury Tales by Geoffry Chaucer, 14th century
• Shakespeare plays, 1584-1650
The Merry Wives of Windsor
All’s Well That Ends Well
• The Cat Who… series by Lilian Jackson Braun’s
• Harry Potter (pumpkin pasties) by J.K. Rowling
• Winter’s Thief by Andean White, 2014
Pasties popularity can be validated by an Internet search of pasty recipes, which produced 545,000 results. There are not that many unique recipes, but there could be over a thousand total. I wonder how long it would take to try them all?
A favorite recipe is available to readers of Winter’s Thief. Check the website www.AndeanWhite.com for details.
As a young boy at family gatherings, I recall listening to the men after a meal. The opinions around the subjects of politics, car brands, hippies, and rock n roll filled the room with energy like aromatic smoke from a pipe. But, when the story telling began everyone found a seat or patch of floor. We sat for hours absorbing the stories, fact or fiction, that shaped who we became and it strengthened our imaginations. Fifty years later I know that a world without imagination would be pretty boring.
More at the website www.AndeanWhite.com.