I am going to be brave today and wade in on the great pasty crimping debate, nay war!
I guess, our company name allures to which side of the fence we sit on, top crimped of course. Not that we are anti-side crimp, if your tradition is to side crimp then follow your roots, one is as good as the other.
When selling our pasties we are sometimes told that our crimp is not Cornish, this inevitably makes my business partners sigh and mutter "oh great, now you have set her off!"I can not help it, I am passionate about our product and the history of the Cornish pasty. My 51 year experience of crimping has always been top crimped. I grew up in a tiny village called Mitchell. My family, and almost all those around us,top crimped. How you crimped, was never discussed, we were Cornish, we made pasties, we all made the ever so slightly different but they were ALL excepted as Cornish pasties. At WI baking competitions, no particular crimp was preferred or banned, no one questioned its authenticity
Taking pasty history back further, my grandmother, her mother etc all top crimped. They hail from St Clements, near Truro. We are now back to around the 1850's, surely top crimping should now count as a tradition? There are also many postcards from the turn of the 20th
century depicting both top and side crimped Cornish pasties.
One story that top crimpers will bring up again and again is that miners held the pasty by the side crust so as not to contaminate the pasty. This just does not hold up. How did the miner carry his pasty to work? in his bare hands? surely it was wrapped in either cloth or paper to keep it clean, even if he had a croust bag? There are also many contempary photos showing tin miners eating their pasties and not only are they wrapped but there is a mixture of top and side crimped pasties.As to throwing the crust away, a hungry, poor miner would never waste food when he knew not where the next meal would come from!
This brings us back to the modern day. Why have we decided in the last decade or so that a Cornish pasty has to be side crimped? Who was given the power and autonomy to decide? was it voted on or did a group of self serving individuals get together and decide what was right for all of us and especially their own interests?
We are not saying our top crimp is right. We are asking for a review of this aspect of what constitutes a Cornish pasty. There are many fine pasty makers,in Cornwall, who top crimp.,Ann's Pasties, to name but one. We should all be able to proudly say, without fighting our corner, that our pasties are proper Cornish pasties. We can not even enter competitions unless we change our crimp or get the PGI stamp. The PGI laid out the rules and regulations as to what constitues a pasty. It must be D shaped, have at least 12.5% meat (rather a miserly amount we feel) and it can contain mince, yes mince! Ticking boxes does not maketh a good pasty, quality ingredients, used well, seasoned well and presented with care and attention to detail is what produces a fine pasty. We refuse to turn our back on our ancestry, we will forego the accolades and revel in our customer feedback.
For now we shall continue to enjoy our newly founded pasty business, fight our corner and look forward to the day when the Cornish pasty fascists are beaten!