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Peas

In elementry school I was exposed to canned peas. I am quite perplexed at what the people who sold this material were thinking. The peas were a week older than they should have been to be considered edible, and to make up for it they were boiled three days longer than they would have had to be to turn to mush. They really had nothing in common with the fresh spherical vegetable picked from the garden. Sadly, this practice has just about killed any interest the baby boomer generation has in peas.

The pea does not have a very strong flavor, it is subtly nutty and a little vegetal. It is a flavor that works very well with beef, ham, potatoes, pasta, rice, chicken, mushrooms, and carrots. It goes so well, in fact that at one point in my own life I could not imagine eating mashed potatoes without peas. Even today some of my favorite vegetable dishes contain this combination - Indian samosas and a certain Indian curry made primarily from potatoes and peas.

It has been decades since I have eaten garden fresh peas and I'm sure I will be corrected for asserting this, but peas lose less by being frozen than many vegetables. This is partly because the pea's strong point is not its texture. It is partly because the pea has less moisture than many other vegetables. Whatever the reason, peas picked fresh and promptly frozen turn into very delicious vegetables in just five minutes in the microwave.

Of course, green peas can be dried. These peas are the perfect starting material for a soup that entails the end of a country ham. Arguably, as a vegetarian one can eat dried split peas, one cannot really enjoy them; for the smoky meaty flavor of a country ham performs a magical transformation on pea soup, making it a transcendant dish.

Pea Recipes