End of an era? Only one entry in pastie contest | TheUnion.com

End of an era? Only one entry in pastie contest

John HartBonnie Hunt (left) and Vivian Scofield judge the lone entry in this year's pastie contest at the fair.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Is the pastie past its prime?

Is this hearty miners’ meal – a meat-and-vegetable filling inside a pastry crust – another Gold Country tradition that’s finally fading away?

Only one contestant entered the pastie contest Wednesday at the Nevada County Fair: Dena R. Nick, who – partly by default – won a blue ribbon.

“It was delicious. Definitely a Cornish pastie,” said pastie-tasting judge Vivian Scofield.

But “it makes me sad” that more people didn’t participate, Scofield said. “It’s disappearing here. I think the (Cornish) people, they’re dying I guess.”

Scofield’s ancestors came from Cornwall, England, a region with a centuries-old mining tradition. Its residents flocked to California’s gold mines, bringing the pastie with them.

Scofield, her mother and grandmother all made pasties at home, so she appreciates the nuances of a good one.

“The potatoes are chipped” into irregular shapes- not diced or cubed, she noted.

Even 20 years ago at the fair, Scofield remembers that Cornish traditions were still going strong. Then you could get pasties and other traditional Cornish treats: saffron buns and seedy buns.

Last year, three or four people participated in the fair’s pastie contest. Two years ago, there were six contestants.

Asked if the pastie contest will continue, fair official Brian Lee said, “The fair would have to look at that and decide if it’s something that they’ll keep going.”

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