Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Cornish Pasty

I'm off on holiday to Cornwall so there'll be silence for a while...

No Cornwall Holiday is complete without sampling a delicious proper Cornish pasty.

Don't have any idea what a Cornish Pasty is? For more info click here.

The Cornish Pasty started life as the working lunch for the tin miners in Cornwall to take underground with them. The pasty was easy to carry, was full of good stuff and could be eaten with dirty fingers--the miners with the dirty fingers, who couldn't come above ground just to wash their hands before lunch, could throw away the pastry casing and just eat the filling. Some mines even built huge ovens on the surface to keep the miner's pasties hot until it was time to eat.

The "traditional" pasty was made from beef, potatoes, onions and turnips wrapped uncooked in a short crust pastry. And then baked and served piping hot. (It stayed hot until lunch because of the dense, folded pastry.) The original pasties had savory in one end and jam or fruit in the other end, so you could have 'two courses'. Cornish housewives also marked their husband's initials on the left-hand side of the pastry casing, in order to avoid confusion at lunchtime.

I keep trying to like them every year. Even once I threw caution to the wind and tried a rhubarb and custard one thinking that might do it (it didn't). But the tradition (at least in our family) is--go to the beach (no matter the weather, which is usually grey and blustery), all sit there shivering and try your first cornish pasty of the season.

One day, you never know, you might find you love them. Maybe this year...

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