The Pasty Corner in Iron River serves up a wonderful example of a favorite food of Yoopers everywhere. But if you have not traveled in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, or some parts of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Montana you may not understand the allure of the well prepared pasty. Tradition has it that the pasty originated in Cornwall and given that the pasty is regarded as the national dish of Cornwall this legend is likely true. Indeed, there is even a Cornish Pasty Association comprising about 50 Cornish Pasty makers. The traditional pasty is a pastry crust filled with chunks of uncooked beef, turnip, potato and onion, lightly seasoned with salf and pepper and then folded over to form the shape of the letter D. The crust is then crimped along the curve of the D and the pasty is baked until the crust is light brown. This recipe for the pasty is the one, including the D shape and where the dough must be crimped, ordained by the Cornish Pasty Makers (CPM). Pride of ownership of this fine dish is clear since the CPM convinced the European Commission to grant the name “Cornish Pasty” Protected Geographical Indication. Who says the French are the only ones who take their food names seriously?
So, you won’t get an official Cornish Pasty at the Pasty Corner (or any of the other pasty shops in the UP), but you will get a superbly appetizing and filling version of what the Cornish miners who came to work the iron mines in Michigan’s UP brought from their homeland and enjoyed for their mid-workday dinner.
That is you will if you order the Rutabaga Pasty. If you don’t care for rutabaga (and if you neglect this ingredient I believe you will miss a flavorful addition and neglect the Cornish soul of this all-in-one meal) you can order the Regular Pasty which is filled with meat, potatoes and onions. On Tuesdays you can get a breakfast pasty filled eggs, ham, potatoes, onions and cheese. If the CPM knew about the Wednesday Pasty Corner special, the Pizza Pasty (pizza sausage, sauce, peperoni and cheese) it would probably either sue or seek religious guidance. Fridays’ special is a more staid Vegetable Pasty. Regardless of the filling you can be assured of a wonderful taste experience. The crust is flavorful and firm, but flaky and the ingredients filling ingredients are top grade. If the regular pasty ($4.00) is too large for you Pasty Corner also offers a smaller version for $3.50. I find one of these more than ample for lunch and two will likely be adequate for anyone who doesn’t play offensive or defensive line for the Packers, Bears or Lions. If you are on your way from Wisconsin to the Marquette area and points east in the UP and are passing through Iron River the Pasty Corner is a great lunch stop.
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