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The pasty route

“Anywhere there are miners, you’ll find pasties,” said the lady at Joe’s Pasty Shop in Ironwood, MI. The last time we saw pasties for sale we were in Oxford, England in the mid-1990s. Apparently the tradition of making these baked meat-and-potato meals started with miners in Cornwall, England. Since the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is loaded with iron mines, the tradition spread here.

And now you can find pasties in virtually every town along the Upper Peninsula. We made a spontaneous stop at Joe’s new location along US Rt 2 and bought two fresh hot traditional pasties for lunch, and a few more frozen ones for dinner.

Ironwood MI pasty shop.jpg

They were superb. One traditional pasty (which is a thin crust stuffed with diced potatoes, onions, and shredded beef) was enough for Eleanor and I to split for lunch. Sorry there’s no picture of it, but it was so delicious we ate it before the thought even occurred to take out the camera.

By the way, pasty rhymes with “nasty”, not “tasty”, which is really unfair since these things are just terrific. The ones we got at Joe’s are even better than the ones from Oxford — and in saying this I apologize to the nice people in Oxford who sold us nice pasties back in 1995.

All along the northern shore of the UP you can find pasty shops, and this inspired the idea of a “pasty tour”. It would be probably the most fattening trip you could take (other than a cheesecake tour) but probably also one of the most delicious.

Last night’s stop: Straits State Park within sight of the “Mighty Mac” (the Mackinac Bridge). Next stop is the end-of-the-road village of DeTour Township. The town is really a detour, but I think in recent history the name has been tarted up to seem more exotic with the capital “T”.

One Response to “The pasty route”

  1. Lou Says:

    We stayed in the Straits SP last year when we did the “tour”. I have a cousin that lives on the UP side of the Mac. Right there under North end of the bridge is a little beach where you can camp….no amenities…but right on the beach and free. Wish I had known you were going there. I would have told you sooner!!!