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Okay. The Keewanaw Peninsular in winter is bloody amaaaazing.

The snow on the trees is like every Christmas card you've ever seen, squared. Robert Frost would slit his wrists. Bev Doolittle could hide a whole army of piebald elephants in it. It's incredible stuff. Birch trees everywhere, looking pale and papery, fir trees covered in great blobs and globules of snow. We drove by Lake Superior, where the water was grey and the sky was grey and the waves rolled against black rocks, with white snow and immense fringes of icicles. The ice that piles up on the rocks is the palest blue-green, the exact color of--well, to eschew romanticism in favor of accuracy, it's the exact color of Daquiri Ice sherbet from Baskin Robbins. Since it provides the only color in a completely monochromatic landscape (with maybe a hint of deep earth red at places along the shore) it's a gorgeous effect, as well as giving one a vague craving for ice cream.

We stopped at Lake Bailey, which is frozen solid now and covered in snow, and Tom and I shuffled a few hundred yards through the snow to check out a broken line of coyote tracks. The view of forest and hillside covered in snow was incredible. The silence was incredible. My mother's attempts to photograph things through the window of the moving car...well, perhaps not so incredible, but we give her points for effort, anyway.

Also, I have eaten a pastie. Most of us probably know pasties as the things used to cover stripper nipples, but in this case, it appears to be a local dish, rather like a dry pot-pie in a thin crust. A kind of Yooper calzone. The crust may be more or less leathery, and the interior contains meat, onion, potato, rutabaga, and so forth. (What this may say about the size and consistency of Yooper stripper nipples--Christ, try saying that five times fast--is open to debate.)

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Is there much mining in the area? Because that sounds very much like a traditional Cornish pasty. And Cornishmen are to mines, what Scotsmen are to engine rooms: i.e. essential and ubiquitous.

It shouldn't be dry though, not sopping with gravy because one eats it with one's hands, but pleasantly moist. The crust should be a nice crisp shortcrust pastry, thick enough to keep the filling in, but no so thick there's no room for filling. In addition to the beef, onion, potato etc. filling, they can also be made with apple or jam filling. Sometimes they'll be divided by a pastry wall with meat at one end, and apple at the other. So one starts at the meat end and eats through to dessert!

Properly made they are delicious, we won't talk about the badly made ones.

My mum's family is from Cornwall. Pasties are a traditional dish for us.

ETA: Stripper nipples are covered with "pays-ties". The food is a "pahs-ty"

Edited at 2007-12-28 10:41 pm (UTC)

australian heritage accounts for me eating many of these.... convicts, ya know?

Convicts? Cornishmen convicts? Never!

There might have been one or two who were framed, but the rest were just carrying on our tradition of preemptive marine salvage and unofficial import and export of liquor and other luxury consumer goods.

perfectly respectable professions, of course!

(i date back to the first fleet on one side of my family, and it was petty theft, lol. bread, to my understanding, which was a very common offence.)

IIRC, one of the tacit reasons for deporting petty criminals was population pressure. England, especially the cities, was overcrowded. Deporting criminals both helped reduce crime (by both removing the criminals and providing a deterrent) and provided a workforce for the colony.

There was a perceived need to build up a substantial English civilian population in the colonies to prevent those damned French and Dutch from taking them over.

Very interesting historical period -- unless you happened to be living in it.

oh yeah, trust me, i know.

not only did i grow up in the australian educational system (remarkably decent, in some ways) but i went to college in OZ as as archaeology/anthropology/history major.... we had our fair share of australiana to contend with!

Preemptive marine salvage? haha. Awesome.

There was quite a bit of mining in the area, yup. Mostly copper, some iron. I have no idea how much is active, but I do know that the UP pasties came over with the immigrants that settled the area.

Cornishmen will mine anything: tin, slate, copper, iron, gold, gemstones. If it's in the ground, they'll dig it up.

My great-grandfather was an explosives expert and worked in the copper mines in what was then Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), diamond mines in South Africa and the gold rush in Labrador/Newfoundland amongst other places.

He "retired" back home to Cornwall and was killed when he went down to investigate a hangfire in a tin mine and it unhanged itself. Exit great-grandpa in several directions simultaneously.

Iron ore was the big thing around Superior. Is what fed the rust belt for a century or so. I think there's a song about an iron ore ship...

Yes; pasties were brought to the Upper Midwest by Cornishmen. Immigrants got jobs in the mines, where the most experienced miners were Cornishmen.

Pasties are now a Finnish-American dish, part of the heritage. At least, in the Upper Midwest. Possibly also in some parts of Canada.

I've read that pasties also became established in at least one Mexican mining area. The usual recipe has been spiced up a bit....

Latin America has a similar dish that is usually referred to as "empanadas" but I've never heard of Mexicans making "pasties".

Lots of copper mining in the area, and as far as I know, it /is/ the cornish who brought it to the UP. Wonderful stuff, really.

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