Where have all the Pasties gone?
Ah, the Butte pasty. Well, if we're being honest, it's not really ours. Pasties are English, from Cornwall, England to be exact, but like a lot of things in Butte, true ownership sometimes is claimed by the whole town. It's pronounced "PASS-tee", as anyone Uptown will tell you, although I had a roommate in college from Billings who insisted on calling it a "PASTE-tee". Even after he was corrected. And he did it almost every time Butte was brought up. Man, he could be irritating.
What is a pasty? It's heaven in a pie crust. Really simple to make. The most basic recipes call for a ball of rolled-up dough flattened out and stuffed with a mixture of beef and onions, salt and pepper, folded up and baked into what the miners used to call a "letter from 'ome". (I have no idea why miners refused to use the letter "h".) For a good number of miners it was a daily lunch. Perfect in that the outer crust served as a handle of sorts, leaving the precious innards untouched by dirty hands. Today, if you can find a pasty, we usually use a knife and fork, and many additional ingredients have been added. My Mother adds carrots. Some use a lot of garlic and Italian seasonings. Many top theirs with brown gravy or ketchup. My Dad puts cottage cheese on his, but Dad has put a lot of weird things in his mouth.
Regrettably, pasties are getting harder and harder to find. Our Mothers and Grandmothers have been sadly leaving us over the years and many have taken their pasty recipes with them. The last two "primarily pasty" restaurants have closed in Joe's and Nancy's. The Hangin' 5 (who many claim have always been the best) only serves them on a weekly, while-they-last basis. Truzzolinos, although known for their tamales, have made frozen pasties available to retailers around town and Wind's Bakery out of Anaconda can be found as well. But like the buffalo here in Montana, what were once many now are few.
Where do you get your pasties today? Do you make them? Do you have a recipe you'd be willing to share? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook,