Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Peas and beans... oh yes

I love peas and beans. I remember growing up in the North of the US and only having one kind of peas, what I now call English Peas but I then just called peas. I used to mash them with my mashed potatoes to the great disgust of the rest of my family.

While I lived in the Southern US for many years, I learned to delight in peas, Crowder Peas, Lady Peas, Field Peas, Cowpeas, Black-eyed Peas and the myriad of beans available there also... Butter Beans, Cranberry Beans and lots more.
You have to eat black-eyed peas (pennies) and collard greens (dollars) on New Year's Day to insure wealth in the coming year.
I rarely find these in the market place here, but last week at the local farmer's market there they were, Cranberry beans! I got the last ones, somewhat picked over but I was so glad to see them that I didn't care. Aren't they beautiful?? And cooked like in the south, with bacon and onions and a little hot sauce and pepper ... oh my what goodness!
They do lose their color when cooked, alas, so this raw state is when they are at their most beautiful, so admire them here and eat them later.
The pea story I tell most often is that my once-husband was a Southerner...Laurel, Hattiesburg, Jackson Mississippi... with limited experience eating in the North. When taken to a restaurant in my hometown, he asked for a list of the vegetables available with dinner.
The waitress listed, among other veggies, peas. "What kind of peas?" he asked. "Peas" replied the waitress. "Yes, but what KIND?" he asked again. After giving him a long hard look she made a small circle with her thumb and forefinger and showed it to him while saying VERY clearly......."LITTLE ROUND GREEN ONES!" I continued to kick him under the table and he ordered carrots.
You still don't get much but little round green ones up here, so whenever I find them I buy them and freeze them. I've never see Lady Peas here, and I do miss them.

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