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Wisconsin Folks

Dorothy Hodgson

Shullsburg, WI

What kinds of work do your family members perform? Do some people in your family work outside the home while others work inside the home?

When Dorothy Hodgson was a little girl, her dad was a farmer during the day and a miner at night. Her mom worked at home as a mother and homemaker. Dorothy’s mom taught her how to cook lots of dishes, including pasties. (YUM! Click on the photo below for a pasty recipe.)

Click on the photo for a pasty recipe!Dorothy’s mom made pasties often because they were an excellent meal for miners. Mining was a common job in Shullsburg, Wisconsin, the town where Dorothy grew up. Mining around Shullsburg by Native Americans had been going on since ancient times. The first European settlers in Wisconsin came in the 1820s to mine lead there. Later, zinc mining became important in the Shullsburg area and many people, including Dorothy’s dad, mined zinc. 

Many of the early miners who came to southwest Wisconsin were from Cornwall, England, a place where mining is common and pasties are a favorite food tradition. Cornish cooks introduced pasties to Wisconsin's mining communities. Dorothy’s mom, of Swiss background, learned how to make pasties because of its connection to mining. 

What is a pasty? It’s a turnover with a pie-like crust. The original ingredients for pasties are potatoes and chopped beef. But cooks are creative. Some add other ingredients. Today, you can find pasties with all types of fillings: fish, carrots, peppers, peas, tomatoes, and even cheese!

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Lafayette County, Wisconsin

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