I feel I am entering into a problem with this blog post that has potential far-reaching international consequences…but never the less, here goes!
‘The Cornish Pasty’ and before this ends I can guarantee I will have sections of the UK’s South West’s Celtic community either at war with me or each other!
What on earth could cause such an upset?
Well do you crimp on the top or on the side?
Its not too far removed geographically from the age-old question between Devon and Cornwall. Is it jam first then clotted cream or clotted cream first then jam?
Forget Brexit, these are the issues that need to be sorted. Who would have thought that food would stir up such major issues.
On my recent trip to The Lizard I had my first chance to meet Ann Mullen who’s reputation in the world of pasties does go somewhat before her.
PASTY CRIMPING…TOP OR SIDE?
Welcomed into her compact kitchen along with her helpers who were working on the hand-made pasties on the small production line that day were Janet and school leaver Dylan deftly packing crimping around 250 pasties. Plus husband Tony beavering away in his own domain, creating the hand made pastry cases with the aid of his key kitchen and essential pasty making gadget, a second-hand 8inch saucepan lid with the knob removed.
It cuts out the perfect rounds for the short-crust pasty cases!
These hand made creations packed with the raw vegetables of potato, turnip (the Cornish refer to swede as turnip) and onion diced with small chunks of beef (skirt or chuck steak) with just a hint of seasoning.
However this is where the Cornish conflict raises its head.
The sealing up of these packed parcels, in Ann’s case, its crimped over the top but others with their dying breath’s would say No, No, No in their best Margaret Thatcher voices I am sure and crimp theirs on the side!
According to the website, the Cornish Pasty Association, they without doubt are on the side, of the side!
However Ann comes out fighting ‘over the top’ for her method with documentary evidence of 19th century images of pasties clearly crimped along the top!
What I do know is that it’s the taste of contents and its cover that is important. The wrangle around the seal will no doubt require Solomon to sort that one out along with twenty thousand Cornishmen!
What I will say is that Ann and her older and young team members in the sunshine yellow painted terrace cottage at the Most Southerly Point of the UK produce a cracking product that for me was the very best I had ever had. Apart from of course my mother in-law’s!
(PS: I had to add that last bit in case she reads this post!)
Ann started her production over 25 years started selling her wares from a stall at the nearby market town of Helston. She soon found business so good that she opened a shop in the fishing harbour of Porthleven. With the family commitments and the shop it became too much so husband Tony transformed the garage of their Lizard home into a pasty kitchen and the rest is history. With grown up son Fergus running an offshoot of the family firm back in Helston too, Ann’s Pasties are going from strength to strength and a new generation ready to battle for that on the top crimp!