Way back in 2008, one of the first recipes I ran on Foodie With Family was for my beloved pasties. (Pronounced PAH-steez, not PAY-steez, thankyouverymuch!) Today’s Make Ahead Monday recipe is a feature of those absolutely wonderful meat pies along with a (tada!) printable recipe and another for *gasp* beef gravy. Read on for why I’m all a-twitter over the gravy.
I was talking with my stepmom, Val, on the phone the other day when she said, “Oh no! Beccy! I have to go!” I said, “Are you alright, Val?” She responded, “I forgot I have to pick up our pasty order from the church. They’re going to close in a couple of minutes.”
All my sympathy and concern that I had queued up for her flew right out the window.
She got to scoot half a mile down the road to pick up a half dozen of the finest Finnish grandmother produced, hand-made, Yooper pasties. I got to drool.
I indulged in a certain amount of self-pity and then roused myself to action. I wheeled on my heel when my husband entered the room and announced, “There WILL be pasties. And it WILL be soon!” imperiously.
While on the whole I find it against my nature to march around making pronouncements, pasties warrant a massive exception. I queened it up big time.
“You must find me a rutabaga! A big one!”
My husband looked at me askance.
“…And we’ll need ketchup!” I added in my most royal tones. Then I said, “You know, Val eats her pasties with gravy. I love her anyway.”
That is where he revolted. “Hey. I know you Yoopers eat ‘em with ketchup and everything, but why? I’d give anything for some gravy with a pasty.”
My every fiber screamed, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”*
*And here, perhaps, it is time for a brief cultural lesson. People who live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan are referred to –both by themselves and those below the bridge- as Yoopers. Yoopers love pasties. But even more than Yoopers love pasties, they love ketchup on pasties. Why? I haven’t the foggiest idea, but we do. And the quickest way to find out whether someone is a Yooper by passing them a gravy boat and a ketchup jar. Watch them carefully. A moment’s hesitation, a feint for the gravy boat, and you know without a doubt that you are not in the presence of a honest-to-goodness Yooper.
It was my turn to look askance. And askew. And aghast. “What do you MEAN you want gravy?”
He responded, quite reasonably, “I’m not saying YOU can’t have ketchup, but really, we’re talking about a meat pie with potatoes and stuff. What could be better on that than gravy?”
I had to admit that I didn’t have anything other a traditional leg to stand upon in the argument. There was no way I could deny him gravy. I’m not ashamed to admit, though, that my head spun a bit as I whipped up the beef gravy. Through my head whirled jokes family members had made about gravy-on-pasty eaters. I remembered a story my dad told about being at a county fair and overhearing some folks talk about being from the U.P. He then approached the couple and said, “Excuse me. I just have one thing to ask. Ketchup or Gravy?” They clapped him on the shoulder and said, “KETCHUP!” They became fast friends.
I put pasties on plates. I put ketchup and –horrors- a gravy boat on the table and watched quietly as all my offspring and my husband poured gravy on their pasties. I reached for the ketchup and scooped a generous portion onto my plate. (Another argument, but one for another day, is whether you put your ketchup on the side or on top of the pasties. What can I say? It’s cold and very rural. We do what we can to keep things interesting.) And then. Then they looked at me and used on me the argument I always use on them, “Aren’t you even going to try it?”
I sensed my authority hanging in the balance and said, “Oh ALRIGHT. Gimme the gravy boat. I’ll try it.” (I was less than gracious about it, but there’s only so much going back on tradition a woman can take with equanimity.) I poured a bit on the corner of my pasty and took a hearty fork full. And then I about died.
It really was not bad. In fact, it was pretty alright. Oh dang. It was good.
I won’t have you believe I chucked my Yooper card and ate it wholesale with gravy. Oh no. I still had my ketchup, too, but I grudgingly admit the gravy will be on the table every time I make pasties.
Yoopers, look away.
In this fresh printable version of the old Yooper Pasty post, I’ve included a lovely beef gravy recipe. Just in case, ya know, you wanna freak out a Yooper you love. Or eat a pasty with it. Sigh.