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Gutted, Cornwall – turns out Cornish pasties were invented in London

David Clack

The Cornish are a proud people – they’ve got their own language, their own flag and regularly make a bit of noise about becoming an independent nation. If they ever got their way, know what they’d put on their bank notes? A big old Cornish pasty, probably, all golden and stuffed with beef and gravy – mmmmmmm, lovely beefy gravy.

Well, they’d look pretty bloody stupid if they did because it turns out Cornwall’s beloved pastry-based poster boy was actually invented right here in London. That’s right. According to food historian Peter Brears, back in the day pasties served in Cornwall were almost always meat-free, and everyone knows a classic Cornish pasty is stuffed with loads of lovely bits of beef, which is very much NOT part of the vegetarian diet, on account of it being made from dead animal.

Of the classic beef, potato and onion combo, Brears says: ‘Although they drew their inspiration from those enjoyed by tourists to [Cornwall], [they] were quite different from the true pasties of Cornwall in a number of ways.’

He says that the ‘Cornish pasty’ as we know it was invented by London-trained cookery teachers. 

So there we have it. Who are you going to put on your fivers now, Cornwall? Mick Fleetwood? Former England footballer Nigel Martyn? 2003 'Fame Academy' winner Alex Parks? Rick bloody Stein? Stein’s not a bad shout, actually.

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