St. Piran’s Day

We’re all Cornish on St. Piran’s Day. See you at City Hall this Saturday for the throwin’ of the pasties…

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5 Responses to St. Piran’s Day

  1. Michael R. Kesti says:

    All this about pasties makes me homesick.

    I grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula not far from where many of my relatives lived on the Keweenaw Peninsula (that big “arm” that juts out into Lake Superior) which is also known as the Copper Country. The Cornish were, predictably, a big part of the underground, hard rock copper mining and where the Cornish went there were pasties.

    The Finnish wound up dominating the local population, though, and showed no shame in adopting the pastie as their own and I grew up thinking that pasties were a Finnish invention. My aunts and grandmothers made as many as 100 pasties each fall once it was cold enough to use a secured spot in a garage or barn to keep them frozen. My folks, who had moved to the “big city” (Marquette), bought a freezer when I was about 6 years old and its first load was my mother’s initial effort at mass pastie production. This meant that we didn’t have to eat them all before the thaw, but we usually did anyway!

    Today, everywhere in the UP but especially from Copper Harbor to Escanaba along US Hwy 41 and then along the north shore of Lake Michigan on US Hwy 2 there are many restaurants and road houses with signs consisting of the single word, “Pastie,” typically in red letters on a white background.

    Finally, the pastie is a big part of how I wound up in Nevada County. I’m an engineer and my first job after graduating from Michigan Tech was at a TV station. This led to knowledge of a company named Grass Valley Group to which I applied for a job. I flew out to interview and drove around Grass Valley and Nevada City the evening before. Imagine my surprise when I found out that the Cornish Cousins had been here and that their trademark meal was readily available! I got the job and knowing that there would be pasties made in much easier to leave the UP and move more than 2000 miles from my family.

    • rlcrabb says:

      Great story, Michael. Now I’ll have to add Northern Michigan to my bucket list of places to go to eat pasties. I grew up with the meat pies, since my dad’s parents were Cornish. Mom made them in large pans, rather than individual pies, so we always had plenty of leftovers.

    • Michael Anderson says:

      That’s a great story, Mike. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Chris Peterson says:

    Mr. Kesti,
    I’ve been across the Mackinaw, up to Munising several times. Beautiful country, and where I was introduced to the game of spoons.

  3. PeteK says:

    I think even I could have written a better “ode to the pastie” song…sheesh

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