Yah Hey! Yoopers are Finally Legit

Road Food: Pasty and apple supper, September 2007

Those of us lucky enough to be born in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan have known who we are for years. We are Yoopers. Derived from U.P.ers. U-P.

You can read more about it here. Yes, we even made the Huffington Post. We're in the dictionary now!

We do talk funny, sometimes. We have a peculiar accent that's not unlike that of the character Margie in the movie "Fargo." It's got a bit more Canuck in it, though, because our ethnic heritage is a blend of French Canadian, Finnish, Cornish, Italian and other dialects.

Our meal of choice is a pasty, one of those folded-over pies my husband's Cornish ancestors ate, and took into the tins mines for lunch. Today you can find them in all the supermarkets here, often frozen, sometimes fresh. Most U.P. towns have pasty restaurants, often takeout, and many restaurants feature pasties on the menu. Some bakeries even make breakfast pasties, although the classic pasty is a lunch or dinner dish featuring beef, potatoes, carrots, onions and rutabaga.

Here's a recipe you might try. 

And here's a post from 2007 about pasties:

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 accoutrements of pampering, and a local newspaper.

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 to eat frequently. 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.


Penny said…
My husband's relatives on his Mother's side are Yoopers. They were Finnish and his Grandfather SyrJanen started the Trenary Home Bakery. Trenary toast is still sold online today. Love your pasty post.
Penny said…
That's Syrjanen. Another spelling of Saarinen. They were related to Eero and Eliel Saarinen.
Unknown said…
I have to make Trenary Toast sometime! Cinnamon toast is very popular at our house.

Very very cool, Penny.
Amber E. said…
Aww, I've been reading following your blog for a few months and didn't realize you had Yooper roots. Greetings from Gwinn, eh!

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