10 Nov 2009

On shelling peas

As I sit typing this in the study I can hear Jemimah in the kitchen next door humming to herself. It is a joyful happy sound. I think she's humming the new Psalm tune we learned on Sunday (Bryn Calfaria for those who are interested, although that is likely to only be Ruby and Rachael), although it is sufficiently different to leave me unsure. Whatever it is, it is nice to hear.

She is shelling peas.

Funny, I don't remember podding peas to be anything other than a chore in my childhood, but I like it now. It evokes a time no longer with us, a slow, peaceful, calm life where time was not yet a luxury.

Jemimah likes shelling peas. Especially with her mother. I like that best too. I like chatting with my daughter about inconsequential things like Hans Christian Anderson's fairytale The Pea Blossom, and the fact that the coriander in the kitchen garden is taller than she is, and other stuff like that. Bonding stuff.

I love cooking peas in spring too, because they are sweet, crunchy and delicious. Really freshly shelled peas are so superior to their frozen packet counterparts. They have to be really fresh though. You need to pod peas just before you eat them because if you shell them early they go hard and floury and yucky. Which probably means that you'll need to grow them yourself. Unless you have a classy greengrocer nearby - which we don't.

Delicious homegrown peas like these are best unadorned and briefly cooked. I like them best tossed in butter with salt, but they're great tossed though pasta with Meredith Dairy Goat Cheese, mint and freshly shaved parmesan with a bit of the marinating olive oil from the cheese - which is how we're having them tonight - or in a risotto with fetta.

Actually I like them raw too. Especially fresh from the plant raw.

Which means that I really should go and check on Jemimah.

If I don't she may just finish shelling and beginning eating, and I'd just hate to miss out on my share.


  1. If it is ever quiet here I know something's up as well.

    Truly precious times.

  2. lol Here the peas'd be lucky to make it as far as the kitchen without being eaten! Home grown is always best. We have the most delicious tomatoes just now & we had our first beans last night. Just steamed. Mmmmmm.

  3. I love this post. I could so easily imagine that peaceful scene in your home.

    In my house a sudden quiet sends me flying to wherever a certain two little boys are, and let me tell you, the damage would be far worse than a few too many peas eaten!

  4. That's sounds very delightful! xxx

  5. I have fond memories of shelling peas, but more so snapping beans with my mom :)


    {our peas never did flower this year! I suppose it was because I used seeds collected from last years peas, they must have been a hybrid and therefore sterile. oh well! It was a good insight into tearing up the fruitless vine sort of thing we've been hearing in church lately}

  6. Hi Jeanne,
    What delightful times you and your daughter must have.

    I love shelling peas, too, although not too many find their way into the pot.

  7. This post was such an easy read. I love your writing style.

    I love the taste of sweet peas - raw, cooked with or without butter. Yum.


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