Become a Subscriber

Become a Contributor
Shop for Books by Our Contributors

Also Recommended

Global Adventure with Judith Fein and Paul Ross

Support This Site
Powered by Squarespace
25 Van Ness 25-word essays 40 State 40 Days 99cent store Adventure Travel Africa Aging Air Saftey air travel Airline fiasco Airline Passenger Bill of Rights airline safety Airplane airplane seat selection airport fiasco Alaska all-inclusive resort American Airlines American ignorance Amish Amsterdam Amtrak anger Arab Arabia architecture Argentina Arizona arm chair travel Art Asia Authentic Travel awards Backpack travel bad day baggage Bahamas Bali Balloon Festival ban whale watching Bangkok Barcelona beach being arrested Being authentic Belize Bellingham Washington belly dancing Belmont University Bhutan bicycling bike tour bikes bikes as therapy Billy the Kid bioluminescence Bird watching Birding birthday book contest Boycott Brattany Brazil Breaking news British Columbia Budget travel Buenos Aires Burma bus travel Cahokia Mounds Cairo California Cambodia Camino de Santiago Camping Canada Canadian Geese Cancer car travel Caribbean Caribbean rainforest Carnac Carnival Caving Central America Ceramics change your life Cheap travel Cheap trips cherish life Chetumal children China Christmas Christmas Day Bomber Claridges Class trip Classic Hotels claustrophobic flyer climate change coffee Colombia color contest continental airlines controversy Cook Islands Copenhagen Costa Rica courage cowboy culture Creative travel creative writing crisis Croatia Crop Circles cruise travel cruising Cuba cuisine Culinary travel Cultural travel Culture Cusco CVS cycling Czech Republic dance Death Death Valley National Park Denmark dining dining guide divorce Dominican Republic Dordogne Dubai Earthquake Easter Eco Travel eco-tourism eco-travel Ecuador Egypt elephant seal emergency preparedness England environmental commentary environmental problems Ethiopia Europe European Union excellence in travel writing expat living expats Faith falling family family resort family travel family vacation Fat Tuesday fear festival fiesta Filipino restaurant finances fitnees flight Florida Food forgetfulness forgiveness France French Camp Friendship frustrated flyer frustration gadgets Galapagos Garifuna Gaspe Peninsula Genealogy Germany Ghana gift guide Girona giveaway Glastonbury Festival global curiosity Global eating habits global nomad global warming good day Gorilla Trek Government GPS Grand Canyon grandparents Greece grief guys getaway Haiti happiness Hawaii healing healing journey hearing loss Helicopter tours hiking Historical travel Holiday Celebrations Home Honduras honeymoon horseback riding hotels How to how-to humor Hurricanes i do not love Venice i need a vacation Iceland Volcano Incas independenc India Indonesia inn reviews Inner Child Internal Reflection international marriage introvert iPhone app Ireland Islam isolation Israel Istanbul Italy Jack London Jamaica Japan JetBlue Jewish journaling Judith Fein Jules Older Kansas Karl Rove Kenya kindness of strangers land Language Las Vegas Latin America learning vacations Leukemia Library life lessons life transformation literature living abroad living like a local London Los Angeles loss Louvre at night love luxury hotels luxury travel Maine Malta Manatee Mardi Gras marriage Masonic Temple Massage Maui Maya meditation Mexico Michigan Middle East Military wedding Minnesota Missouri Molokai money Montana Monterey Moose Morocco mother's day mother-son travel motorcycle travel multigenerational vacation Music Musings Myanmar Namibia Nancy King National Prayer Day Native America nature Nepal Nevada New Mexico New Orleans New Year New York New Zealand Newfoundland Nicaragua Nigeria NNew Mexico noise Northwest Airlines Pilots Norway Nova Scotia Ohio Older parents Olive Oil Olympic Peninsula Washington orcas Oregon Orkney Islands outdoors ownership Pacific Northwest Parent's love Paris Partners Passover Paul Ross Pennsylvania personal essay Peru Pets Philippines photography contest Pilots Plane plastic plastic bags Poem Poetry police Politics Portugal postcards Pottery poverty Prague Prayer procrastination pueblo culture Puerto Rico Q&A Quebec Quito ranch vacation random acts of kindness rap song reading reasons to travel recession rejuvenation relaxation Religion Religious holidays remembering mothers Responsible travel. Sustainable travel restaurant reviews revolution River Rafting Road trip roadtrip romance romantic travel Rosemary Beach runway delay Russia Sacred Places sadness Safari sailing Samba music San Andrés de Teixido San Francisco Santa Fe Sardinia Saudi Arabia Scotland sea kayaking Sedona self discovery senior travel Serbia Shakespeare Shamanism shame Shopping short stories Sicily Siena silence Sisters ski vacation skiing Slow travel Slum Tourism Slumdog Millionaire small-group travel Soaking tub Sociology Songwriting South America South Dakota Southeast Asia soviet satellite Spa Spain spirituality Springtime SSan Francisco St. Louis St. Petersburg Standing Stones Steinbeck stress stuff happens Sumatra Summer cottage surfing surviving disaster Sushine Coast Switzerland Tacoma Taiwan Tanzania Taos Taxi Taxi Driver Tbex Texas Thailand The Netherlands the writing life Tokyo Tourism train trip Transformative travel transportation trash travel travel advice travel agents Travel Blogging travel commentary travel confession travel contest travel essay travel gear travel hassles travel humor Travel interrupted travel musings travel opinion travel photography Travel Reviews travel safe travel safety travel security travel technology travel traditions travel trends travel videos Travel with Kids Travel Writing traveling alone traveling with kids traveling with teens trekking trip to the dentist truffles TSA complaints Ttrain trip Tunisia turbulence Turkey Tuscany typhoon UFOs Uganda uncensored travel opinion UNESCO World Heritage Site Union Station United Arab Emirates United Kingdom Upstate New York Utah vacation vacation rental vacation tips Valentine's Day Vancouver Venezuela Venice Venice California Vermont Veterans Day Vietnam Vinayaka Chaturthi virtual vacation Wales Walking Washington Washington D.C. water project waves we don't care airlines weather wedding White Oaks Pottery White Sands National Monument why I fly why not to cruise why travel wildlife spotting wine Women travel workout World Festivals world peace World War I World War II writer's block Writing Yoga Yucatan Peninsula zombie boot camp
« Molokai - the most Hawaiian of islands | Main | A Wild Ride in the Dominican Republic »

In Pursuit of the Perfect Pasty

by Katie Richards

It’s probably fair to say that beyond English borders, our regional food doesn’t have the best reputation. But as an English girl who has lived in various parts of England and Wales for my whole life, not counting a brief flirtation with France in my early twenties, I am proud to say that English food is a great deal more than fish and chips.

First things first. You’ll only find a Cornish pasty in Cornwall. Now, while that might sound obvious enough, it took the Cornish Pasty Association a trip to the European Court in 2006 to gain this recognition. The story of the pasty, however, begins some 700 years earlier during the reign of Henry II when it was enjoyed by the wealthy and filled with exotic ingredients such as venison, eel and salmon. By the 18th and 19th centuries, the development of the mining industry in Cornwall meant that the pasty had become the food of the workers who required a nutritious and portable lunch to carry into the mine.

Cornish pasty. Photo by monkeymagic1975 via

From the outside, granted, the Cornish pasty doesn’t look particularly appealing. But the buttery pastry shell in a half-moon shape with a characteristic crimped handle made of pastry gives way to a mouth-watering mixture of steak, potato, turnip and onion all seasoned with a liberal dash of pepper. While the crimped handle is today a handy means of eating your delicious pasty on the go, the handle was originally discarded due to the high levels of arsenic in tin mines several centuries ago. The thick pastry handle allowed miners to enjoy their hot meal and avoid being poisoned by the arsenic and tin on their hands as a result of a hard day’s work in the mine. Another traditional characteristic of the pasty which hasn’t lasted to the modern day is the savoury and sweet combination. One half of the pasty would be filled with the traditional steak mix while the other half contained a sweet apple pie-type filling as a welcome end to the miner’s hearty meal.

Growing up with a large family in the south west meant I enjoyed frequent trips to the Cornish seaside and had numerous opportunities to sample the region’s famous dish. Today, if you take a walk along any beach, you’ll lose count of the families enjoying a pasty as part of their picnic lunch, the perfectly portable food reinvented for the modern day.

Mousehole harbor, Cornwall. Photo by Jomega via

Life in Cornwall largely revolves around the coast and it’s probably for this reason that I can only eat my pasty outdoors, gazing at the sea.  I think it’s the combination of Cornwall’s rugged beauty and culinary heritage that makes this simple lunch a highlight of my time in Cornwall. You are probably looking for a recommendation of where to buy the most authentic pasty, but I’m afraid I can’t help. I always rely on those that are freshly baked by my great aunt in her kitchen in Camborne; unwrapping the greaseproof paper package tied with string is what keeps me returning to Cornwall year after year.


Katie Richards lives in Chester, England and loves to travel. She works for Sykes Cottages, the UK’s leading cottage holiday company, which allows her to indulge her love for travel in the UK and Ireland.


[Photography by monkeymagic1975 and Jomega via Flickr common license.]

Note: this article is brought to you in partnership with Sykes Cottages. 

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (3)


It's amazing how many of my favorite travel memories involve food. Your story brings me back to the savory taste of my first pasty enjoyed more than two decades ago. I was exploring Great Britain on a two month road trip without much money and the pasty quickly became a filling and budget-friendly favorite during my time in Cornwall.

Thanks for sharing,


July 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Barone

I just recently enjoyed my first really Cornish pasty in Marazion, although I've got to say I had some good ones in Glastonbury, a few years ago. My English companions seemed quite scornful of my desire to sample some other ones, the Marazion one was so good.
I was sorely tempted in St Ives where there was a greater variety, but settled for a delicious fishy luncheon instead.
There are many reasons to return to Cornwall, and pasties just one of them.
Thanks for the memory.

July 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

Love it! We are currently in Cornwall (Penzance, actually) and enjoying this marvelous country--and will now go out and look for pasties--preferably at your auntie's....

July 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterElyn Aviva

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...