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History of the Cornish Pasty FOOD & COOKING

The Cornish pasty is a savoury pastry dish that originated in Cornwall, England. It consists of a pastry shell filled with diced meat, vegetables and seasoning. It is often served as a convenient, portable meal for workers. The origins of the pasty can be traced back to the Thirteenth century, when miners and farm labourers in Cornwall would take a pasty to work as a convenient and easy to carry source of food.

Cornish Pasty

The original pasties were made with simple ingredients, including beef, potatoes and onions, and were seasoned with salt and pepper. Over time, the ingredients and seasoning used in the pasties evolved, with some variations including ingredients such as cheese, turnips, and even fruit for dessert pasties. The pastry used for the pasties was also made with a thicker and sturdier crust along the one edge, allowing the pasties to be easily transported and eaten with dirty hands without the filling spilling out.

The popularity of the pasty in Cornwall grew over the centuries and it became a staple food for many families in the region. The pasties were often made in large quantities and baked in communal ovens, with each family adding their own unique ingredients and seasoning to the dish. This created a rich diversity of pasty recipes and flavour combinations, with each family having its own secret recipe passed down from generation to generation.

In the Nineteenth century, the Cornish mining industry boomed and the pasty became a popular food among the miners who worked in the mines. The miners would take a pasty to work as a source of sustenance, and the high calorie content of the dish made it an ideal food for the physically demanding work in the mines. The pasties were also made with a crimped edge, which served as a handle that could be discarded after eating the contents, making them a convenient and hygienic option for the miners.

The popularity of the pasty spread beyond Cornwall, and it became a popular dish in other parts of England, as well as in other countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the United States. The pasty was also brought to the United States by Cornish immigrants, who established Cornish communities in the mining regions of the country. The pasties made by these communities became a popular food among the miners and their families, and it remains a beloved dish in many parts of the country to this day.

In recent years, the Cornish pasty has been recognized as a symbol of the cultural heritage of Cornwall and has been awarded protected geographical status by the European Union. This status ensures that only pasties made in Cornwall using traditional methods and ingredients can be marketed as Cornish pasties. The Cornish pasty has also become a popular tourist attraction, with many visitors to Cornwall trying the dish at local bakeries and cafes.

In conclusion, the Cornish pasty is a dish with a rich history and cultural significance, and its popularity continues to grow both in Cornwall and around the world. The versatility of the dish, combined with its convenient and portable nature, makes it an ideal food for those on the go, and its rich flavour and diversity of recipes make it a beloved dish for many families and communities.

David Jenkins

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