The Cornish Pasty
This page is here because not quite everything you hear about the Cornish Pasty is true !!
I am sure we will find some good stories as we go along .........
In fact, if you have one, please email me and we'll see if we can put it on here!
I have a good yarn for the pasty reaching the borders of China based
on a Horizon programme I saw years ago. This recounted the discovery of
Caucasoid burials (Bronze Age, I think) found on the edge of the Gobi
Desert. The Skeletons (?Mummies?) were dressed in check trousers and plaids.
Nearby caves produced paintings and graffiti, amongst which were
unmistakable images of pasties. The Chinese were v. miffed that Westerners
might have had an influence on Chinese culture and have since attempted to
suppress the discovery.
I have also found a brief reference to reports of a legendary
Chinese delicacy the Didi Oh Ghi in Maj-Gen. T.D.F.C. Brewington-Smythe's
1863 publication, 'Journal of my Travels by Donkey among the Western
Mongols' which might repay further research.
PS Do you think we should tell the tale of how Jack Trevaskis stole the
secret of the pasty from the Piskys and the terrible curse that followed? I
can't remember the full story, just fragmentary memories of sitting in a
flickering firelight and being frightened to death.
20 March 2007
Webmaster - Now Oggy mentions it, I remember that program, too. My thought is that if the pasty reached Uzbekistan, presumably via the Phoenicians who came to Cornwall and took it back to their homeland (Lebanon or thereabouts, I believe), at the end of the Silk Road that went all the way to China, then it is quite likely that the recipe for making your own pasties was taken even further than Uzbekistan, in fact, all the way back to China, as the Horizon program showed? Seeing is believing?
This being so, Oggy's "yarn" above may be true and belongs elsewhere on this web site?
Footnote - This piece is transferred from an old "Cornwall" web page (now produced in part at the Cornwall link at the top of this page), although before that it was on the Shooting STARS web site (defunct since Feb 2007) and before that it was on the old SWEFTA web site (defunct since Dec 2001).
It is believed that the land of the pasty trees was the original Garden of Eden and that it wasn't a apple that Eve took from the tree but a pasty. This was covered up when they were copying out the Bible in olden times for fear of upsetting people who couldn't get no pasties for their selves. So, you see, Cornwall really was Eden from the beginning (see further Footnote below).
Of course, this was all upset when they found the china clay but they are trying to make amends. There is a secret Project nearby where 'tis whispered they are breeding a new variety of pasty tree that is easier to grow. This has tremendous importance for people in countries where there are no pasty trees.
I heard they are trying to cross the common native pasty tree with a West Penwith pasty tree (for its resistance to croust beetle) and to get the taste qualities of the wild cliff-top pasty as well. The other thing they want to get in'un is the self-fertileness of the doodni. Then, they'll have the perfect pasty that everyone can have. They'll be growing them in profusion under controlled, secure conditions and they'll be pouring out of the pasty factories and bakeries like I don't know what.
I fear it spells the end for the small pasty grower, though, and that's a shame because its already a dying art. Mind you, the home-grown pasty could become the REAL gourmet icon in the pasty world.
Footnote - I must attribute the story about Adam and Eve and the pasty tree to Mr Munro's RK class at Penzance Grammar School for Boys, 1957/1958. He actually told the bible version, but on seeing a small boy (Patrick Harry?) eating a piece of pasty in the class, he shouted that it was not a pasty tree, then telling the boy off! Of course, being small boys, the story that it WAS a pasty tree went through the school like wildfire. He knew little about the real pasty tree groves (remnants of the original forests) and the pasty orchards (man-made orchards for pasticulture).
Mr Munro was an interesting man for another reason not unconnected with the pasty - SEE HERE.
I always thought Mr Munro looked a bit like Fyfe Robertson who was on television in those days.
You can learn a lot from this web site - The Cornish Pasty.