Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My "ethicnic" comfort foods...

Ethnically I'm mostly Swedish, with a lot of Scott and other northern European folks thrown in. I'm also 100% Ioweigen, as both of my parents were born in Iowa (not something I share in BN state, for some obvious reasons :).

My Grandma Joy is an "Upper"[pronounced like 'YOU-Per'] -- She's from the "Michisconsin" part of Michigan.. you know, the part of Michigan that isn't connected to the mitten part but is connected to Wisconsin.

Grandma Joy's father was a mine engineer whose proudest life accomplishment was that there was never a cave-in or other kind of fatal accident in his mine. When you consider the fact that Grandma will be 91 in December, having no fatalities in her father's time was quite an accomplishment.

All of this brings me to my love of Pastys. A Pasty is a kind of meat pie. Proper pasties have beef, potato and onion -- NOT parsnips... believe me, this is an ideological divide you must choose a side on. They are in a pie-like crust. They are often eaten with brown gravy, but since I developed my love for them as a child, I always eat mine with catchup.

The idea is that a pasty provides a hot-pocket like meal for a miner. Miners in the UP would put them in their lunch buckets in the morning and eat them in the mine during their lunch break. The tradition is one that started in the mines of Cornwall -- and fit well in the mines of the UP.

Today, if you've been to the UP and haven't had a Pasty -- you've missed out. It is the equivalent of going to France and only eating at McDonalds.... well, not quite, but it is something you have to do. If you happen to drive by Betty's Pies on Lake Superior's North Shore, you can stop in for a decent pasty.

One of the perks of working on my at home today is that I just put a frozen pasty in the oven. In 30 minutes I'll a proper meal for someone working in the philosophy factory :). If you are so inclined, look for "Captain Jack" brand pastys... or, at least some indication that they are "made by the caring people of upper Michigan".


undine said...

I remember seeing signs for pastys when driving through the upper peninsula years ago.

Is it pronounced with a long a or a short a? I seem to remember hearing a short a (to distinguish them from the stripper trappings, maybe?).

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

The Uppers are very clear that they are not pronounced the same way as the stripper "accessories" :).

comebacknikki said...

Ahhh, the pasty. I grew up in Michigan and was surrounded by those foul things.

They invaded the lower peninsula in the early 90s... nothing was ever the same after that.

julie said...

Good pasties in Hinkley - at the donut place everyone likes to stop. And I ate my first one in Cornwall - tin miners' lunch. The dividing line in England is carrots: no carrots in a Cornish pasty!