The Cornish Oven
Pasty pronounced "PAST TEE"
Pastry rolled out like a plate,
Piled high with potatoes, onions and meat.
Doubled up and baked to eat
That's a "Cornish Pasty" treat.
The story of the Cornish Pasty
Deep mining was the work of Cornish miners who brought their skills, sledges, drills and blasting powder from the mining pits of Cornwall to the prospering shafts of Lake Superior. Their families brought a way of life that included the pasty, a potato and meat turnover that the miner heated on his shovel held over a candle. The pasty was wrapped in newspaper and carried in a lunch pail and eaten with a flask of tea.
A Cornish miner was called "cousin Jack" and his wife, usually an excellent cook was called "cousin Jenny". Of course they spoke with an accent, traditional meat pies called pasties were made of "may" (meat), "turnits", (turnips), "tatys" (potatos) and "honyons" (onions).
The following are some of the different kinds of pasties the Cornish people made:
It was said that the Devil has never crossed the Tamar river into Cornwall, because Cornish women will put everything and anything into a pasty. The Cornish pasty, in its various forms, is a delectable pleaser and deservedly considered a world-famous meal.
When pasties are being made, each member of the family has their initials marked at one corner. This way each person's favorite tastes can be catered to, identifying each pasty.
The true Cornish way to eat a pasty is to hold it in your hands, and begin to eat it from the top down to the opposite end of the initialed part. That way any left over portion could be consumed later by its rightful owner. And woe be it to anyone who takes another person's pasty.
The Cornish oven consisted of a hole in the wall of a chimney. They were oval in shape and roofed over with a hard white substance which was called "clome." It took about an hour to preheat the oven and the fire had to be kept burning hot. When the fire first started the oven hole would turn black, but gradually turned white.
Blackthorn was the favorite fuel for heating. The complete surround of the oven had to be hot. When it was white hot, to the very door, the ashes were thoroughly cleaned out of the oven and the tins of bread or pasties were placed inside. The oven would hold ten tins. The door was shut and red embers and ashes piled around the outside to keep out any draft. An hour later the goodies were ready to come out.