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The Cornish Pasty

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Le Ménagier de Paris
translated as
The Goodman of Paris
circa 1393
Earliest version c. 1300


The Cornish Pasty has verified that this book was only translated fully into English in 2009. Prior to that mainly recipes were translated and for that reason it was known as an early cookery book, whereas it was in fact about all housekeeping: in three main sections: how to attain the love of God and husband; how to "increase the prosperity of the household" with tips about about housekeeping, including recipes and menus, remedies, gardening; and how to amuse, socialize, and make conversation. 

Photo from an Inter-Library Loan book
The book is still available new


An unabridged translation, Part 11 - Pastés, (pages 185-6) contains mentions of pasty..

Pasty is found in the book (and other early books) as pasté  - this becomes translated variously, and rather confusingly, as  pasty / paste / pastés / pastez !

As with all of the old books, as far as we know to date, there are no instructions as to how to make the pasty! This was understood to be in the usual knowledge of the Cooke.

This may be the earliest known full recipe for making a pasty .....

Source: Homepage: Medieval and Renaissance Food: Sources, Recipes, and Articles
Web page - Le Menagier - Le Ménagier de Paris
Part 11 - Pastés. (pages 185-6) ,,,,,

Quote" .....

"So then to tell that great profit
Can well come from such conclusions,
Because one can make such a pasty
The best that was ever tasted;

And for this do not make me wait
Lest the inexperienced not learn how to make it.
Three partridges large and plumped [scalded?]
Placed in the middle of the pasty
But be sure you do not fail
To take six large quail
Lay them thereon as you wish:
And then after that you take
A dozen larks
And put them in around the quail
And then take of these tidbits
And these small birds:
According to whatever you have,
Roll out the dough.
Whereupon you should purchase
A bit of fat bacon, not at all rancid,
That you will carve as dice:
So it will be sprinkled on the dough.
If you want it in good form,
Verjuice of grapes is put there,
A good kernel of salt is powdered,
So it will be more savory.
If you wish that the pastry should taste of it,
Make the dough with eggs;
The crust, coarse as peas,
Made of flour of pure wheat,
And if it is to be made properly,
Do not put in spices nor cheese:
When it is good and hot, put it in the oven,
Whose hearth has been well cleaned of ashes;
And cook it until perfectly done
As good a food can't be cooked."

(Adamantius - Philip Troy)

This pasty contains three partridges, six large quail and a dozen larks, diced bacon, grapejuice and salt, with no spices or cheese - this is far removed from a traditional Cornish pasty!

Another good web source is: The Goodman of Paris, (c. 1393 AD) Eds. G. G. Coulton and Eileen Power. Trans. Eileen Power. London: George Routledge & Sons, 1928, page 239: How to devise dinners and suppers (The fourth article).

                                                                                                     / Medieval / Cookbooks /Le Menagier de Paris : Many items in the book are cooked "in pastry" ..... there are many mentions of pie ..... and some of pasty .....

Under "Pastry [73]"

Fresh VENISON PASTY. You must parboil the venison, and skim it, then lard it and make pastry: this is the way to make pasties of all fresh venison; and it should be cut in big, long pieces like rolling-pins, and this is called 'pasty of larded boiled meat.'

BEEF PASTIES. Have good young beef and remove all the fat, and the less good parts are cut in pieces to be used for stock, and then it is carried to the pastry-cook to be chopped up: and the grease with beef marrow.

The meat of a leg of beef is sliced up and put in pastry; and when the pastry is cooked, it is appropriate to throw a wild duck sauce into it.

MUTTON PASTIES. Chopped very small with scallions.

VEAL PASTIES. Take the round part of the thigh, and put with it almost as much beef fat; and with this you make six good pasties in platters.

[73] Note that the same word in French means pastry, pasty and pie (JH).

Wikipedia - Pasty re. The Goodman of Paris/Le Menagier de Paris states that the book contains recipes for pasté with venison, veal, beef, or mutton; this pasté is sometimes rendered as pasty in modern translations to English)[21]


From a Google search for <pasty> of Google Books - The Goodman of Paris




Other web sources for this Medieval book:

Internet Medieval Source Book - Goodman

Boydell & Brewer, current publishers, 254 pages, ISBN: 9781843832225, price US$ 27.95  / GB£ 14.95

Thus, another piece of historical pasty research is presented by The Cornish Pasty.


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