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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pasties for 250

My niece's wedding last week was a self catered affair.  She decided on serving pasties (paastees, not Paste-ees please), a meat "pie" common to areas which had mining, such as Montana and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where Beth was born.  The story goes that the "cousin Jacks", miners from Cornwall, introduced them to the other mine workers.  Pastry crusts were filled with ground meat, onions, rutabagas (or turnips) carrots and potatos.  The mixture was baked then placed in the miner's tin lunch buckets.  They held the warmth well and were good to eat on lunch breaks down in the depths of the mines.  They are related to meat empanadas, but larger, if you're familiar with the Hispanic version.

Beth wasn't quite sure how many people would be coming, so what few family and friends of the bride were  in North Carolina last week went to work in a commercial kitchen rented by the hour to assemble and bake them.  The two characters in the first picture are Beth's father on the right, and a very close family friend on the left.  Here, in this picture (from the left) you see Wendy (another family friend), my sister Mary (the bride's mom), my sister-in-law Barb, and Tammara, the groom's sister.  Of course, I was working as well, but as I was directed to take the "behind the scenes shots" I was the one behind the camera.  Here, we are making the dough.

Beth and Mary are rolling crusts and filling them.  In the background is the groom's mom who arranged the use of the kitchen.  They sell specialty organic items from their farm and orchard and also home-churned ice cream at local festivals.  If you've been to the Asheville NC apple festival you may have had some of their wares...or currently at Georgia Mountain...they sell under "Old Ken Cole" and work very hard at what they do.
Beth is taking the new batch off the pans from the oven while Wendy and Tam prepare to put new ones in.  We froze them, and warmed them on Saturday before the wedding.  Tam's long suffering husband was the one in charge of warming and bringing them back to the wedding site in insulated containers.  He also made a wonderful bourbon mushroom gravy for them---much fancier than the usual gravy I've had on them in the U.P of Michigan.  They are usually served either plain, with gravy or ketchup. 

I must admit, I kept on thinking of Emerson, Lake and Palmer's "Benny the Bouncer"....I am afraid that most of the people here didn't get my reference...lets see if you can figure it out.  While we prepared for 250 people (even making 6 vegetarian versions), we only served about 100.  LOTS were left over and sadly...I didn't bring any back to Ohio with me.  

Do you wonder why I'm still tired yet? 

Oh yeah..I saved all the beard and hair nets so I could quilt with them....never miss an opportunity to gather unusual materials.


2 comments:

Shady Character said...

Yum! We had pasties a couple times on our camping trip in the UP in August, including baking store-bought ones in a dutch oven. The process was documented so I could write an Instructable some day when I make or find the time. Now I suppose the newlyweds won't need to cook for themselves for weeks! ;)

Michigoose said...

Well...they went to Hawaii for their honeymoon, and are returning directly to Montana, so no pasties for them. My sister-in-law is driving their Cherokee back to MT, but is making stops in Wisconsin and Minnesota...in addition to visiting her mom just south of me here in Ohio...they'd be pretty unsavory pies by the time they get here.

I suspect the pigs will be eating well...or if they think of it, I hope Beth's new in-laws will take them to a shelter or food pantry. It seems criminal to let them go to waste and I'm sure that there's no way that the in-laws could eat ALL the left overs, although I just heard from one of the attendees from Jasper, WY that she and her daughter ate some while waiting for their plane. :)