A Short History of The Pasty

Did you know every time you bite into a pasty, you're taking a bite out of a part of food history that can be traced back to medieval times? The traditional Cornish pasty finds its most prominent roots in the early 1860s in the tin mining county of Cornwall in Southwest England. The "pasty" is also included in "The Cooks Tale," an unfinished chapter of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales which was penned in the 14th century.

The Cornish pasty we know today, however, was designed as a hearty "meal-on-the-go" to keep up with the needs of the tin miners. The miners used the baked-on handle (the crimp) to help them hold the pasty to avoid ingesting hazardous materials, like arsenic. So much for dipping that crimp in Guinness Gravy!

The official Cornish pasty has a very specific ingredient list and is geographically protected. You cannot officially call a pasty a Cornish pasty unless it was made to these specifications including being made in Cornwall. You'll find this traditional pasty listed on our menu as The Traditional "Oggie". As historians perused old Cornish cookery books they quickly discovered that many times a pasty's contents were solely based on whatever food was available. So, could someone in 16th century Britain actually have experimented with the first Rabbit and Turnips or Crispy Toad pasty? We can't rule that out.

Information adapted from Miners’ Delight: The History of the Cornish Pasty — History Channel.

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