Yooper pasties seemed like a mandatory recipe for the U.P.
Pasties, pronounced like pass-tee, originally made their way to Michigan from Cornwall, England. Yooper, for clarification, is what people from the Upper Peninsula called themselves.
A friend of mine from Lower Michigan said that what she missed most about Michigan cuisine were the hot dogs—they’re “just not the same” as the ones here in New England—almost more like sausages, with thicker casings. Her second mention of distinctive foods, though, were the pasties.
Pasties, from these parts in particular, were long prepared by housewives so miners could take a full meal with them to work. The meat and potato ones are the staple variety, but some also included a cherry pie filling at one end so that when the miner was finished having his lunch, he could seamlessly transition to dessert.
I decided to keep it simple and follow this recipe for a standard meat-and-potatoes pasty. I wasn’t sure what to expect—something more pie-like, perhaps, a little richer. Yet these were much like rustic and real-food hot pockets, and I mean that as a compliment.
These were time consuming to prepare, but very filling. I imagine that like anything else, with practice, these can be made a lot faster and be made to look a lot prettier. I can certainly see how these fueled miners for a long and hard day’s work!
Note: a whole lot of my Michigan photos have disappeared from my computer, so the photo used above is a free-source image. The photographer is David Johnson, and the photo is titled “Cornish Pasty Made by Warren”.