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The Cornish Pasty

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William Shakespeare

Plays mentioning the pasty, written 1584-1650


The Cornish Pasty has found three references to pasties mentioned by others in Shakespeare's works.

While two of the references are obvious, the third (to the play "Titus Andronicus") is a little more tenuous.

Although,  without examining Shakespeare's original manuscripts, who can be sure of any of them? However, the context suggests that the Titus Andronicus reference would not be a true traditional pasty - we hope!

The plays involved are:



Details of the references to Shakespeare's pasties

1. The Merry Wives of Windsor Act 1 Scene 1 - Windsor. Before PAGE's house
   ** Believed written 1597 **

FALSTAFF - Mistress Ford, by my troth, you are very well met: by your leave, good mistress.

Kisses her

PAGE - Wife, bid these gentlemen welcome. Come, we have a hot venison pasty to dinner: come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness.

Exeunt all except SHALLOW, SLENDER, and SIR HUGH EVANS


2. Alls Well That Ends Well Act 4 Scene 3 - The Florentine Camp
    ** Written 1603: 1601-1605 **

First Lord  - Hoodman comes! Portotartarosa

First Soldier  - He calls for the tortures: what will you say without 'em?


PAROLLES - I will confess what I know without constraint: if ye pinch me like a pasty, I can say no more.


First Soldier - Bosko chimurcho.


First Lord - Boblibindo chicurmurco.



3. Titus Andronicus Act 5 Scene 2 - Rome. Before TITUS's house
    ** Written 1584-1589 **

(Titus Andronicus) - He cuts their throats

Receive the blood: and when that they are dead,
Let me go grind their bones to powder small
And with this hateful liquor temper it;
And in that paste let their vile heads be baked.
Come, come, be every one officious
To make this banquet; which I wish may prove
More stern and bloody than the Centaurs' feast.
So, now bring them in, for I'll play the cook,
And see them ready 'gainst their mother comes.

Exeunt, bearing the dead bodies

NB - this could be a pasty of sorts: the bones are to be ground to a powder (="flour") and mixed with the blood to make a paste ("paste" is an old word for pastry). The heads would then be baked in the pastry, like a pasty.

We endeavour to bring 'ee only the facts in The Cornish Pasty .....


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