A Pease Journey

Remnants of dried peas were found in Egyptian tombs. Hot pea soup was sold by Athenian vendors to passersby. The Romans served them with poultry or meat and vegetables added to them. In the middle ages, peas were a main staple food that kept the peasants well-fed during the harsh winter months. The Chinese grew pea pods and ate them fresh. The old Anglo-Saxon word pease was later changed to pea in modern English.The French court of Louis XIV were fond of petit pois,or baby peas that were too expensive for the common Frenchman.

In America, peas were canned during the nineteen twenties and then frozen with the invention of the refrigerator in the nineteen-thirties. Bowls of the hot peas were placed on dinner tables across the country alongside pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy. On Sundays, frozen peas were creamed and served as a side dish to accompany a large roasted hen. Later, cold pea salads appeared on buffet tables everywhere.

As women entered the work force and spent less time in the kitchen faster ways of cooking peas became important. One cup of peas has as much protein as a whole egg or a tablespoon of peanut butter but with lower grams of fat.

Who would not love a hot bowl of pea soup anytime of the year and then topped with a few garlic croutons.

Hot Pea Soup

4-slices thick cut bacon
1-lb.bag of dry split peas
1-can roasted chicken broth with roasted garlic
4-fresh carrots, peeled and cut into quarters
1-medium onion, chopped
2-stalks celery, chopped

Directions: Into a large soup pot or a dutch oven, fry the bacon until done.Sauté the onions and the celery with the bacon and the bacon grease until the vegetables are wilted. Add the dry peas and the garlic chicken broth. Cover the ingredients with cold water. Cook on medium-low and when the soup is half-way done add the raw carrots. Continue cooking until the peas are done adding water to desired thickness. Pour into soup bowls and top with garlic croutons.

During the nineteen-fifties, neighborhood women were always sharing recipes with each other.The recipe below is from two women living next door to each other and both named Mary. Their lives were busy caring for their children,doing endless housework and greeting their husbands coming home tired and hungry from a long day's work.

Five Minute Cooked Peas
(Serves 4)

2-cans canned peas with liquid
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Directions Drain the liquid from the peas into a saucepan and add the garlic powder. Simmer the mixture on medium-low for three minutes. Add the peas cover and cook for five minutes After they are done add a few cubes of butter for more flavor.

Alice a mother of four and a grandmother of six was famous for her creamed peas.On Sunday, she served them on a sideboard with a large roasted hen, mashed potatoes, gravy and homemade dinner rolls.

Creamed Frozen Peas
(Serves 4)

2-8oz cartons frozen peas
1-Tablespoon flour
½ cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
2-3-cubes of butter

Directions: Into a saucepan boil the peas in boiling water until they are tender.In a large skillet combine the flour and the milk stirring them together until they become like thick gravy. Season the mixture with salt and pepper then drain the cooked peas, add them to the creamed mixture and then stir them until the peas are covered with the creamed mixture. Add the butter for more flavor.

How could anyone not remember those mounds of cold pea salads that had become a favorite side dish for dinner parties or holiday gatherings everywhere.

Cold Pea Salad
(Serves 4)

4-8 oz.-cartons frozen peas
1-small jar pearl onions
1-boiled egg, sliced
2-cups mayonnaise
2-stalks celery, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:Thaw the frozen peas until they are room temperature. Drain the liquid from the pearl onions Combine the thawed peas, the pearl onions, the sliced boiled egg, the celery, the mayonnaise, then season with salt and pepper.Mix the ingredients together until they are well combined. Serve chilled

During the nineteen-seventies, an American couple vacationing in Paris attended some cooking classes at the Cordon Bleu. They had fallen in love with a recipe for a hot pea salad.

Hot Pea Salad
(Serves 2)
4-slices thick cut bacon
2-8 oz. cartons frozen peas
1-tablespoon olive oil
2 to 3 heads leaf lettuce
3-4 cloves garlic
Salt & pepper to taste
1-tsp red wine vinegar
garlic croutons

Directions: Cook the bacon slices removing them after they are done.Add the garlic cloves to the bacon grease and sauté them for a few minutes. Add the lettuce leaves and sauté until they are wilted. Add the peas and mix with the garlic and lettuce. After the peas are tender season the ingredients with some salt and pepper. Chop the bacon and add it to the cooked ingredients. Mix the one tablespoon olive oil and one teaspoon red wine vinegar,pour on the cooked ingredients and then lightly toss the salad. Add some garlic croutons for texture.

An interesting ending to A.Pease Journey is a Thai recipe from www.yummytaste.com for a Steamed Butterfly Pea Cake

Steamed Butterfly Pea Cake
(Serves 2)

1-cup rice flour
1-Tlb arrowroot starch
3/4-cup sugar
1-cup butterfly pea water(jasmine flavored water for an aromatic sent)
3/4 cup water

Topping

1-1/2 cups coconut cream
5-Tablespoons rice flour
¼-teaspoon mung bean flour
1-1/2-Tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions: To make the mini golden drops; separate egg yolk from the egg white, discarding All the membrane part of the yolk. Beat the yolk lightly. Boil sugar and water to make syrup.

When the syrup comes to the boil and all the sugar has dissolved, strain and bring back to boil until the syrup thickens. Pour the beaten egg yolk into a funnel, and drop into the boiling syrup. Boil for a few minutes or until done, then transfer to soak in the cold syrup.To make the violet mixture: mix sugar and water, boil until the sugar has dissolved, strain and set aside. Mix the rice flour, arrowroot starch and butterfly pea water (jasmine-flavored water)Together, stir for 15 minutes. Add the syrup and stir well. Let stand for one hour.Heat empty porcelain cups until very hot. Fill the cups with the violet mixture. Close the lid and steam for five minutes or until done. Remove from heat.

To make the topping: mix the coconut cream, rice flour, mung bean flour, sugar and salt together. Place over medium heat. Allow to cool slightly, then spoon over the violet mixture and decorate with some mini golden drops.

Cooking since the age of fifteen, the author has always experimented with recipes to the delight of her family and friends.

In The News:

A No-Recipe Recipe Manifesto  The New York Times
Cinnamon latte recipe  Telegraph.co.uk
Savoury seed crackers recipe  Telegraph.co.uk
Something's fishy: Recipes offer tasty twist on seafood  Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

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