The humidity and (to me) excessive heat finally broke yesterday after a Monday night of rain, thunder, lightning, and five E1 tornados. Today is delightfully cooler, about 70-75, no humidity to speak of. It’s transporting me to my happy place at the beach in Marquette.
The only thing that would make me happier is one of these: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113207915.
It doesn’t have to be from Lawry’s, either. The pasty, a meat pie, is Cornwall’s gift to the world. Immigrants brought the recipe for these tidy savories with them when they came to work the iron and copper mines in the Upper Peninsula, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The crimped edge provided a way to grip it without contaminating the filled part with toxic residues left on their hands. It contains some kind of meat (usually beef, sometimes pork, not unusual for venison to be in there), potatoes, and onion seasoned with salt and pepper. It may or may not contain turnips or carrots. The filling gets wrapped in a basic pie crust, baked for about an hour, then served plain, or with ketchup (my favorite), gravy, or butter (!).
This morning, I looked at some recipes on the web. There are some people out there who really have no comprehension of what a pasty is supposed to be about. The pasty is about simplicity of preparation and quality of ingredients. It it what Cornish miners ate on their breaks, not who can out-gourmet whom. You do not put celery into the filling. You do not saute the filling–it will not be as juicy that way. You do not put Dijon mustard and cream into the filling. If the meat is dry, a spoonful or two of gravy is just fine. But you do not try to make it go all yuppie as one restaurant I was in tried to and then charge $12 for it. The trauma blocked out the place’s location; probably better that way.
If Hubby heard any of the half mumbled profanity that I have been spewing, he will probably be too scared to come out of his office until dinner tonight. I may have to get some spelt flour for the crust and make some here at home to coax him out.
Pasties became a staple food up north, and your mom or grandma made the best ones. Or your favorite stand that you visited on vacation. They are best served at sunset by your favorite lake with sand between your toes as the waves provide dinner music.