Pasties from Outer Space

If you grew up in Nevada County, chances are you’ve eaten a pastie, or thousands of them. It was one of the few things that survived the age of the Cornish miners. I don’t know if they still serve pasties at the NU cafeteria, but in my day they were a weekly item on the menu. They were cooked in large trays and cut into squares for serving.

The one thing that disgusted me in those days was watching my fellow students drown their perfectly good pasties in ketchup. You’d think they were trying to make soup from the gallons of tomato guts they’d pour over their lunch. My wife still does it, more from the bad habit she picked as a teenager than anything to do with taste, I’ll wager.

After high school I didn’t eat many pasties. The commercial varieties available back then were not up my standards. Too many potatos, not enough meat. I was too lazy as a young single guy to bother with making the crust.

But some years back, I was delighted to find pre-made pie crusts in the dairy section of the grocery store. (And yes, I know that pre-made crusts are blasphemy  to a real pastie purist. Too bad. I’m still lazy.)

For filling I still use the standard meat, potatos and onion, but now I use less meat and add carrots and frozen spinach to fool myself into thinking I’m eating healthy. The only proper condiment for the pastie is malt vinegar. Anything else is barbaric.  

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16 Responses to Pasties from Outer Space

  1. Michael R. Kesti says:

    Keep the carrots, drop the spinach, and add rutabaga and you’ll come close to a Yooper pastie.

  2. “The only proper condiment for the pastie is malt vinegar. Anything else is barbaric. ”

    This barbarian adds Anchor Steam beer.

  3. Judith Lowry says:

    I have tried pasties from a few places around here and they usually don’t have a lot of filling.
    Sounds like some of you know where to get the good ones.
    When I was small we went to live in Australia with my grandparents for a year.
    Aussie meat pies, are part of my fondest memories. For the equivalent of a nickel we were able to buy them at our school for lunch.
    Aussie meat pies are well stuffed and very meaty.
    Although, you wouldn’t want to say “stuffed” in Oz.

  4. rl Crabb says:

    SPD pasties are pretty good. Cousin Jack’s are too. Both are a bit heavy in the spud dept., which is probably closer to the traditional pie. Most of those miners couldn’t afford a lot of beef. I haven’t tried any of the alternative meat varieties.

  5. Todd Juvinall says:

    Marshall’s on Mill Street are really good.

  6. PeteK says:

    I have heard that the Catholic church makes a mean (yet devine, some might say “heavenly”) pasty. There are two things that can make or break a pasty; The meat(not enough flavor or too tough, and the crust(to dry it falls apart, to wet its too doughie), the rest is usually a no brainer. I was watching the food networks “Man vs Food” the other night and he went to a pasty shop in Montana that puts chili and cheese on top of there pasties. I about had a coronary right there! My sister makes the best cornish pasties ever and I have been learning her skills myself. When I get it perfected RL, I will find a way to get to one to you for your taste buds to test.

    • rl Crabb says:

      Yeah Pete, my mother-in-law used to be on the crew at St. Patrick’s that made those pasties. One year they ended up with a lot of leftovers, so she gave us about ten of them, which we put in the freezer. Over the next couple of months we devoured them and I must say, I was not impressed. There were some that contained maybe one or two tiny pieces of meat. The rest was potatos. Maybe they’ve gotten better since then.

  7. Todd juvinall says:

    The Methodist Church does a pastie which they sell periodically. I am told they are real good.

  8. Judith Lowry says:

    If you ask me, Sierra College ought to have a culinary class on this historic local dish for posterity and future generations.
    Pastie 101?

  9. Just put a bunch of postits all around campus and see if some interest can be drummed up.

  10. TD Pittsford says:

    Barbarianism is in the mouth of the eater. You can have yours with kibble if you like (I hear that’s big in G.V. at least once a year) but my favorite is still catsup…or is that ketchup? I remember when Wade Patterson had the old service station on S. Pine and Spring street. Mrs. Patterson used to take orders for her most splendid pasties and Wade would then sell them at the station every Tuesday or maybe it was Thursday, I don’t remember. I DO recall that they were none the worse with “tomato guts” as you so grossly put it, Crabby. Don’t get me wrong, vinegar is good too but the red stuff is my favorite. BTW pasties and home fries are the ONLY foods I use it on.

    • rl Crabb says:

      Thanks, TD. That reminds me that some of the best pasties in Nevada County were served at Pearl’s, just around the corner from Patterson’s. (After Pearl retired it became Mama Su’s Squeeze Inn, and today it’s part of the Utopian Stone complex.)
      As for ketchup, I must admit my guilty pleasure is pouring it over a mess of scrambled eggs. Yum!

  11. Todd juvinall says:

    I saw one pastie going one way and the other going the other way. What a sight!

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