Last week, at our family meeting, someone said “Why don’t we have pasty more often? We haven’t had them for a really long time!”

“That’s a good question,” mom says “when would you like to help make them?” We will often discuss and plan what kinds of meals to prepare among other things at our family meetings. This meal of pasty involves quite a lot of work: Shopping for ingredients, peeling potatoes, carrots, and rutabaga, chopping onion and garlic, grinding, mixing, making dough, rolling, filling and baking. When we make them at our house, everyone gets involved and we make a lot of extras to put into the freezer for later consumption.

After some discussion about the best time and day to do it, we agreed on Saturday afternoon. We even invited a co-worker and his family to share in the experience, since they expressed an interest in learning how to make them.

Mom and boys peeling and grinding in the early stages.

Mom and boys peeling and grinding in the early stages.

Joyce and boys hard at work.

Joyce and boys hard at work.

Bruce, Andy and Grandma all helping out.

Bruce, Andy and Grandma all helping out.

If you are not familiar with the “Pasty”, it’s a mixture of potatoes, carrots, onions, rutabaga (like a turnip), ground beef and pork mixture (a coarser grind than hamburger) and spices, rolled up into a crust and baked in the oven.

Our copper mining ancestors used to bring them to work in the mines for an easy, filling and nutritious lunch. I can just picture them sitting down in the cool, damp and dark mine-shaft, a mile underground, with their candle-light illuminating the area, biting into a pasty partially wrapped in a paper bag holding it with dirty hands and washing it down with a cup of hot coffee.

Nowadays it’s eaten in a variety of ways:

1. Just like the miners did or…

2. On a plate with a fork:

– Hot with no additions

– Make a few holes in the crust, add a few pats of butter, and enjoyed one bite at a time

– The crust opened neatly like a clam-shell with the top crust removed and eaten separately, perhaps with butter

– Mashed up with your fork with some added ketchup and/or butter

– With gravy instead of ketchup

Here’s the way I see it: Every family should do some kind of baking project together because it’s a great way to bond with the kids. It teaches cooperation and teamwork, and they learn how to prepare a nutritious meal from raw ingredients (not processed foods). They also learn some patience, as it’s not instant gratification when baking something – it takes time and work to prepare ingredients, then some more time to bake, then everyone gets to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Mom rolling out the dough and Stan ready to dole out the filling for the next one.

Mom rolling out the dough and Stan ready to dole out the filling for the next one.

See the Bowl of filling (to the right) and floured counter for rolling out crust.

See the Bowl of filling (to the right) and floured counter for rolling out crust.

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