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PastyFest, held every summer in downtown Calumet, celebrates the Keweenaw meat pie's history with old fashioned games, a parade, and a Pasty Bake-Off for the coveted Copper Pasty Award. (Visit the photo album of the 2005 Pasty Fest). Remember – it’s pronounced “PASS-tee.”
PastyFest, held every summer in downtown Calumet, celebrates the Keweenaw meat pie’s history with old-fashioned games, a parade, and a Pasty Bake-Off for the coveted Copper Pasty Award. (Visit the photo album of the 2005 Pasty Fest). Remember – it’s pronounced “PASS-tee.”
The original pasty heralds from Cornwall. In Copper Country, the pasty dates back to the 19th century, when Cornish migrated en masse to work in the region’s copper mines. Later immigrant groups - Finns, Italians, Poles, Croats, and Serbs – embraced the pasty as they looked to earlier, Cornish immigrants as models of American life. Wherever the Cornish settled, the pasty was spread to the other groups in that area.
"Not just a recipe but an entire cultural complex passed from individual to individual and from one ethnic group to another: the uses, the way of eating, the practice of marking individual pasties, and so on"
The pasty was readily adopted by other ethnic groups because it was so strongly associated with mining. It stayed warm a long time, was easily portable in a pale, and could be eaten with one’s hands. It became so popular with certain immigrant groups that the pasty’s true origin became surrounded with controversy.
In 1864, a small wave of Finns migrated to the region, well after the Cornish were established. A larger Finnish contingent arrived years later; they likely learned pasty making from the older group (not the Cornish). Pasty also resembles piiraat andkuuko, a Finnish food. These factors led many to consider the pasty as a Finnish food, especially as the Finns became a larger ethnic group in the area.
Lockwood, Y. H. (1986). Immigrant to Ethnic Symbols of Identity Among Finnish Americans. Michigan Folklife Annual 1986. American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
Miller, L. & Westergren, M. The Contextual History of the Pasty (2007). [online resource].
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