Found at: Iceland
Rick Steves taught me about Cornish pasties sometime in the late 1990s. I used to watch his travel shows religiously, dreaming about the days when I could go to Europe and see exotic things like meat and potatoes wrapped in pastry. And here I am, 20 years later, living my dreams.
At that time, great R.S. told me that the reason for these pasties had to do with the mining economy of Southern Britain. After all, Cornwall has some of the oldest and best deposits of copper and tin in Europe (#archaeologymajor #veryexpensivefact). The story goes that the miners, whose hands were famously filthy, would bring these pasties as their lunch and hold onto the crust to prevent them from accidentally consuming any of the noxious chemicals on their hands. When they were finished, they could then simply discard the sooty crust and continue on with their work. More recent historians have pointed to the numerous images of Cornish pasties wrapped in paper as counterevidence for this claim, but that’s not nearly as fun. Besides, why would Mr. Steves lie to me?
Unsurprisingly, these pastries are delicious. It’s hard to go wrong with meat, potatoes, onions, and bread, after all. They are also decently cheap and very portable, which is helpful for both copper miners and students who live far from campus. The only downside is that these pasties are oddly smelly. It’s not a bad smell, but after a few hours, my backpack definitely had a distinctive meat-and-onion vibe.
I’m not saying I don’t want to show up to my archaeology classes smelling like a Cornish miner from 1910, I’m just saying that I’m not sure that I have the confidence necessary to show up to my archaeology classes smelling like a Cornish miner from 1910.
At least not yet.