Pasty [ pas-tee ] noun, plural pas·ties
A savory pie filled with vegetables, game, fish, or the like. Chiefly British or US North Midwest food tradition.
Gather round, Let us tell you a story about the Pasty.
The Cornish pasty, a hand-held meat and vegetable pie, developed as a lunch for workers in the English tin mining region of Cornwall. The portable meal grew to become a food staple for 17th century English families, fishermen, farmers, and miners. In Michigan, 19th-century Cornish immigrants brought the pasty into the iron mines of the Upper Peninsula; the portable, hearty meat pie could easily be carried into the mines for 12-hour workdays. Imagine long days in a cold, dank, dark mine then pulling a pasty out of your sack lunch, a hefty nutritious meal radiating remembrances of your loving family and still warm because of its insulative crust. You can see why the pasty caught on as such a popular food tradition. Today, in much of the blue-collar Midwest and other mining regions throughout the country, the dish is as culturally ubiquitous as deep-dish pizza is to Chicago.
There are many varying cultural adaptations of this working-persons’ staple food. In all corners of the world, there exists a vast range of renditions of hand held, crust-enclosed meals. The Finnish have their own version of the pasty – substituting carrots for traditional rutabaga; Aussies’ traditional pie features ground meat. Of course there is the Italian calzone, the Kyrgyz manti, and empanada of Spanish and Latin American origin. The variations are many!