Vonn's Note: Jill Ferguson has been cooking for Occupy Columbia in South Carolina. She has also compiled a series of recipes she prepared during the 2008 presidential election called Obama Campaign Cookery. She generously contributed her reflections and a recipe here for Cornish Pasties.
Are you cooking for an Occupation? I'm looking for guest bloggers to write about their experiences of the Occupy movement and their food. Please contact me here (note: this link will take you to another website)
Why I do this.
One of the Barrigan brothers (Dan or Philip) was asked why he poured blood on draft cards at Catonsville back in the '60s. His answer was, "My whole life." That fits my answer as well. From the peace and civil rights movements to 'Keeping Biafra Alive,' to feminism and many other causes, not least the 2008 Obama campaign, I've been active and have used my very limited talents and abilities to effect progressive change. After the 9/11/2001 attack, I sent cookies and care packages to the troops in the Middle East.
Cooking is something I enjoy doing. The Occupy movement is, in my view, this is the opening salvo of the Second American Revolution--or the First Global Revolution. Corporatism has replaced nationalism as the major threat to peace and human well-being; perhaps even existence. It's certainly a serious threat to democracy and an open society. In 1776, our forefathers rebelled against taxation without representation, calling it tyranny. Today, our representatives' loyalties can be purchased by the wealthy as campaigns become more expensive and the Supreme Court allows corporations to donate as persons. It's a challenge to every patriotic American.
As a senior citizen, I'm not able to spend a lot of time demonstrating. My involvement is demonstrated in my little kitchen.
The Occupiers thank me for my contributions. They are in all weather, staying outside and moving around. As a former Child Feeding Adviser for UNICEF, and also as a nurse and American Red Cross volunteer, I understand the need for calories under these circumstances. During the course of dropping off food and receiving schedules and other emails, as well as meeting other food providers, I've become a part of a group of supporters. Also, I'm trying to use what connections I've developed in this community (I've only lived here for 6 years) to help meet the Occupiers' needs.
One group of recipes I discovered online recently was for Cornish pasties (pass-tees). They were a favorite in the older generation of my family--my great-grandfather came from Cornwall, England and was a coal miner. Pasties are a tradition among miners, because they can be held in one hand and are a complete meal. I never ate one until I looked up the recipes. Here's one I used:
A layer of rutabaga slices (I boiled them in beef bouillion)
A thicker layer of potato slices
A layer of diced steak or lean roast (or whatever meat one has)
A layer of sliced onions
A little gravy or meat sauce
Salt and pepper
A half pound (one cup) of lard
Four cups flour
1/4 cup of water (or maybe more)
Cut the flour and lard together and knead, adding salt and water as needed. Roll out the dough on a floured board and cut a circle the size of a dinner plate (or whatever other size you want--some use saucers). Put the filling on one side of the dough, leaving space at the edges. Brush the bottom edge with water, bring the sides together by folding over the empty side and crimp the edges. Brush the tops of the pasties with beaten egg or milk and be sure to cut openings in the tops with a knife to let juices escape. Bake in a 400 degree oven until browned, about a half hour.
For other recipes, use your online browser. There are a lot of them, as well as interesting stories about the tradition. Enjoy your pasties. One consumer wanted "dipping sauce," so maybe some gravy on the side would be good.