27 September 2007
Road Food: When in Da U.P., Hey, Eat a Pasty
I love business travel. I enjoy checking into a hotel room, unpacking my things, which always include a good book, bubble bath and the other acouterments of pampering, and a local newspaper.
My husband says he enjoys it, too.
“There are no demands on your time,” he says. “At home, you feel as if you should be doing something constructive.”
Once I am checked into a hotel room, I am usually not interested in leaving. I relax almost immediately and want to get further acclimated to my temporary environment. But I do leave, mainly to search for a local deli. I seldom eat alone in restaurants, and I do not like take-out food.
In Marquette, Mich., there are some very nice locally owned sandwich shops and delis. But the other night, strapped for time and weary from a long drive, I opted for a local supermarket, expecting to find the usual selection of rotisserie chicken, cole slaw, potato salad and baked beans.
Instead - being in Yooper country - I found pasties, those meat-and-potato stuffed pastry pockets that Cornish workers took into the iron mines with them. They are a staple here, where the mines have long dominated the local economy.
My husband, having Cornish genes, loves them. I find them a bit too carb laden. But after more than three hours of driving on an empty stomach, a pasty looked pretty darned good.
(By the way, that’s a soft A, not a long one. Paa-stee, not pay-stee. The two uses are not interchangeable, either.)
I bought a pasty, adding some cheese and nuts, and enjoying an apple (courtesy of a friend at the Italian market back home) for dessert.
As pasties go, it was not the best or the worst I’ve eaten. Doesn’t really matter. I was ravenous, and it was hearty and satisfying.
What I was really tasting here was a night of freedom. I missed my husband, but had a long phone conversation with my sister-in-law, a warm bubble bath and a good book to sooteh my road weariness.
When you travel, what do you do? Eat out? Splurge? Choose takeout? I’m curious. My new job will involve more travel, and I may just broaden my horizons at mealtime, too.
I'll be on the road again Monday.