Jean Kay’s make pasties that work for them

The pasty has been a Upper Peninsula staple for 150 years.

The debate about its origin aside, its cultural significance is strong.

Jean Kay’s has been in Marquette since 1979 and prides itself on its Cornish pasties.  There are several different types of pasties, and everyone makes them different.

“Everybody has their own kind of style,” Jean Kay’s owner Brian Harsch said.  “I do kind of the half-moon style.  I’ve seen them long, and where they do the curls on the top.  The pasty pie is real famous, you know, because it’s a lot of work making individual pasties.”

Virtually nonexistent south of the Mackinac Bridge, pasties are so prevalent in the U.P. because of what they represent.

“There’s gotta be heritage.  It’s like any type of ethnic food.  You have to have a colony of people that have been eating this for generation after generation.  That’s what makes the pasty unique; it’s kind of a micro business,” Harsch said.

A traditional pasty is filled with beef, potato, onion and rutabaga, but there are several modern styles.  All of the ingredients are placed on a circle of dough, which is then pulled over and kneaded shut, creating a pocket.

Although Jean Kay’s believes the pasty came from the Cornish, the lineage is constantly debated. We explored the history and posted the findings in our newest online feature – The ABC 10 Blog.