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Maria Rodale on beautiful Butte, Montana

Gallus Frames at Butte, Montana

Gallus Frames at Butte, Montana / Copyright Mike Kearney / Courtesy ButteBooks.com

When a blog post about Butte, Montana, my wife’s hometown, was published by Maria Rodale today, I knew I had to mention it. Rodale is CEO of Rodale, the largest independent publishing house in the United States, and granddaughter of Jerome I. Rodale, the man widely credited with starting the modern organic food movement. She regularly blogs about good things to grow, eat and share at Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen.

In “Beautiful Butte, Montana,” Maria Rodale describes her recent visit to the Copper City nestled in the Rocky Mountains of southwest Montana. She was there for a speaking engagement and to promote her new book, Organic Manifesto: How Organic Farming Can Heal the World, Feed Our Planet and Keep Us Safe (Rodale Books, 2010).

Rodale’s musings about Butte center on local eateries and what’s delicious in this venerable mining town that was Montana’s largest metropolis in 1900, when it was known as the “Richest Hill on Earth.” She mentions having Cornish pasties at Nancy’s Pasty Shop. (Say PAST-ies, not PASTE-ies, unless you intend to conjure a showgirl accessory that’s always a dab of glue and a jiggle away from a “wardrobe malfunction.”) Pasties are meat and potato pies from Cornwall in southwest England, that often include diced onions and gravy. Miners relied on their portability and heartiness to keep them going during long shifts in the dark. Their descendants and today’s wayfarers passing through Butte continue to enjoy this tasty tradition.

Also mentioned are Talk of The Town Bakery (listed as Town Talk Bakery on the internets) and its maple iced donuts; Muzz and Stan’s Freeway Tavern and its “Wop Chop,” a boneless, breaded and fried pork chop sandwich; and the Hummingbird Café, whose name alone is enough to coax me in on our next trip.

On rare pilgrimages to Butte—our last was in 2001 when it snowed nearly a foot on the first Sunday in June—we always have a pork chop sandwich at Pork Chop John’s, which claims to be home of the “original.” I’ve never patronized Muzz and Stan’s, but will now have to sample their offering to see how it compares to the real thing.

Thanks to Maria Rodale for reminding me of my wife’s delightful culinary heritage and that a trip back to Butte is long overdue.