Pasties, Pasties Everywhere

Last week, I learned two important things. They both happened as the result of a post I wrote about various errors, typographical and otherwise. I noted that the excellent Economist magazine dropped an “r” from the word “pastries,” inadvertently rendering it “pasties.”

Well, The Economist was not wrong but I sure was. Many readers informed me that a pasty (pl.: pasties) is a small Cornish pie often filled with meat and vegetables.

The other thing I learned is perhaps even more valuable. In the comments section of the pasties post, a reader named Petréa Mitchell informed me that “You’ve just encountered Muphry’s Law (no, not Murphy’s).” According to this site, Muphry’s law states that “if you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written.”

Now I know.

In other pasty news:

On a long family drive this weekend, we listened to most of the first Harry Potter book on tape. (Yes, Jim Dale is fantastic; I truly would listen to him read the phone book, at least the A’s.) And sure enough, as Harry takes the train to Hogwarts for the first time there is mention of a pumpkin pasty. Unless I had made my pasty snafu earlier, I doubt the word would have caught my ear. As it was, my wife and I laughed aloud, hard. Yet another case of confirmation bias, sort of.

Upon our return, we found that a mysterious box had arrived by Federal Express. It was the size of a hardcover book but not quite as heavy. Under the FedEx wrapping, here’s what the box looked like:


Hmm. I recently resubscribed to The Economist; perhaps they were sending me a little gift?

Well, yes and no. There was no note but inside lay a pasty:


I have to say, it didn’t look very tasty. Maybe it had spent too long in transit. Inside, it looked like this:


The meat was, I believe, chicken. As you can see, there was also evidence of pea, carrot, and potato. I assumed that if The Economist was good-natured enough to laugh off my wayward criticism, they weren’t going to poison the pasty. So I took a bite. Yum! While it’s probably not so smart to eat food that arrives quasi-anonymously in the mail, I took another bite and then a third. I look forward to my next U.K. trip so I can eat a native pasty. My sincere apologies to pasty eaters everywhere. Apologies also to The Economist, and thanks.


Pasties were invented by their wives to supply Cornish tin miners with their lunch. They are delicious cold, as they were intended to be eaten. I do know that some heretics prefer their pasties warm, though. Nowadays they are sold virtually everywhere in the UK although, as others have said, quality varies greatly.


What 36, 72, and 85 said. The Cornish Pasty Co. in Tempe, AZ is great.


Only the pasties in chippies/bakeries in Cornwall are worth eating. The so-called "West Cornwall Pasty Company" produce undersized, flavourless rubbish. Only an arrogant ugly american would presume to think that they were called 'pastries' without even bothering to look it up.


I realize that I am late to comment, but I feel the need to correct those who have compared pasties to Hot Pockets. In fact, the two couldn't be more different! Well-made pasties have a delicious flaky crust that Hot Pockets may aspire to but never reach. But the most important difference between the two is that the ingredients in a pasty are fresh and identifiable whereas the ingredients in a HotPocket are a mystery to us all!


Please don't compare a pasty to a hot pocket or a pot pie. Not even close. I hate hot pockets and pot pies but love pasties

beny jakob

Crime and Punishment
U had to eat it after all?


That is one funny looking Pasty. Come to Cornwall and try the real thing! This is how they should look:


That was hilarious! Glad I bumped into your blog. Keep up the good work all around.


Brought tears to my eyes.

There are good folks everywhere.


My comment is not about pasties, but how everything you just learn comes back once more to your attention within a day.

Just like pasties came back to you in Harry Potter, a lot of things seem to come back, just as if nature is trying to reinforce that newfound knowledge.

Paul Reynolds

That's not a REAL pasty! It looks like some cheap supermarket one. A real pasty should have steak, swede (or turnip) and carrot in it. If you want to be really traditional, it should also have apple (or some other fruit) at one end.

I think the best pasties (excluding home made ones!) are from the West Cornish Pasty Company ( - amazing!


Now I have a hankering for a pasty.Been a while since I've been back to the UK and had a good one.


cloud9ine, I love your comment! It is true. Although once you learn something you start to pay attention to it. So learning something everyday, allows you to hear a wider range of whats going on around you


In Tempe, Arizona there is an absolutely amazing pasty place located on the Northeast corner of Hardy and University. Quite fittingly it is named "The Cornish Pasty". They have a wide array of pasties inspired by a variety of cultures and their salads are also quite delicious. They have great drink specials and are very vegetarian friendly. It's one of my favorite local places at the moment.


I'm on holiday shortly for 2 weeks in lovely Cornwall. The real local pasties with lamb or steak eaten hot for lunch is one of the things I look forward to most. As a Brit I'm glad to hear you guys over the water are now catching on....


Next time you're in the UK, check out the Stephen Fry versions of the Harry Potter audiobooks. They are spectacular.


No, you were right in correcting The Economist. As a youngster in the British school system, I was subject to spelling corrections of various words ending with "er" (e.g. center/centre) by numerous teachers and with great vigor. Their fervor in correcting that mistake often amazed me. Strangely, upon returning to the U.S., I noticed exchange students from Britain did not have their spellings "corrected" by American school teachers. The British and their self-righteous attempt at being "propre" make my laugh.


Did you really eat chicken that had been non-temperature controlled in transit for a couple of days? Yikes.

- Posted by Jared

I second that! As a Brit I can tell you this tasty treat is best eaten hot.


Pasty, hunh?

What you described can be found in any Indian/Pakistani restaurant around the world.

It's called a Samosa.

I guess Curry isn't the only thing the brits think they invented...


To answer 91 Julie, yes, in MI it also rhymes with nasty. Alton Brown got it wrong on his Good Eats episode about hand pies, which didn't help our cause!