Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Joyful Reluctance of Peas

I belong to a philanthropic, educational organization for women that I love from the bottom of my heart.  Our Ohio state convention was this weekend, about an hour from where I live.  My mom and I got to go for the weekend and my wonderful husband took care of the girls for two and a half days while I was gone.  It was great.  I came home today and went out to the garden, because Mark had not thought to water while I was gone (which I am not remotely complaining about, as he did a wonderful job taking care of the girls and even cleaned the kitchen and things before I got home!).  As I was out watering, I noticed... peas!  (As if this is a surprise from the title of my post.)

Let me start out by saying that I generally do not like peas. I tolerate snow peas in stir fry, but that is about it.  Apparently I loved them as a toddler (my mom always tells the story of me saying "But Mom, I need peas!" when she would not give me any more for dinner.  Since then, my love affair with peas has waned dramatically.  However, since I believe everything is better when grown fresh, and especially when it is the fruit of your own labor, I planted peas this year so that I could give them another shot.  Regular peas that you shell and eat.  So when I saw the peas tonight, I was torn between the joy of harvest and the realization that it is peas.  But I pulled a pod off the vine and shelled and ate it raw, right next to the garden.  And I didn't die.  Or choke.  Or turn green and swell up into a green ball, a la Violet Beauregaurd from Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.  In fact, it wasn't that bad.  Mind you, it wasn't necessarily good, but it wasn't as bad as I expected.  So I am now soliciting recipes for fresh shelled peas.  Send me something that will make me fall in love with the pea.  It's one of those foods (like rosemary and cucumbers) that I really want to like, but try as I might I just don't. 

Kate and Mark are not vegetable people at all, so kid and husband friendly recipes are also welcome.  Kate did try one in the yard (which is absolutely wonderful simply because she was willing to try it), however she bit the pea in half, made faces as she swallowed the half in her mouth and threw the other half into the yard.  (Perhaps if it were doused in ranch dressing... In the fall we may do sugar snap so we can dip them in ranch dressing.  Mark hates ranch dressing though, so that does not help there...)

This is Claire in the swing while I was pea-picking. That is the remnants of a delicious vanilla milkshake from United Dairy Farmers.  That is not peas.  I will gladly accept any suggestions of how to make peas taste like a delicious UDF milkshake.  Gladly.

This is my crazy makeshift pea trellis.  I can't remember if I showed this before.  I originally just turned tomato cages upside-down for the peas to grow up.  They were not tall enough.  This is probably obvious to everyone but me.  I then rigged up the craziest looking trellis extension out of bamboo poles, twine and the existing tomato cages and plastic garden fence.  It works.  But it certainly isn't pretty.

The peas.  "Early Perfection".  The "early" part must be a misnomer. It couldn't be that I planted them late.... No way that would happen with 2 small children...

A close up of the peas I am trying to love.  I really am.


  1. Alyssa, if you ever find a recipe that makes peas taste like milkshakes, please send it to me!

    I do love peas, and yours are beautiful. Mine have blossoms, but nothing edible yet. I think our favorite thing to do with peas is to make creamed peas with new potatoes. Mr. H would eat that every day if he could! To me, beef stew isn't worth eating without peas. Of course, fresh peas cooked with baby carrots and seasoned with a bit of butter is another favorite.

  2. I can't offer any recipes other than to say pea soup w/ham is one of my favorite ways to eat peas. Eating them from the pod is probably my favorite;-) But I don't grow them, so don't get that opportunity. One sure way to dislike them is to eat them from a can. Yuck...they're so mushy! I think you're doing a wonderful job, just 'trying' as you are. Growing them in and of itself is wonderful...and giving your kids the opportunity to eat them and develop a taste for them is great too! PS: When you finally get a recipe for peas tasting like milkshakes, I want to know too;-) Jan

  3. I put them in pasta last night - I made an alfredo cream type sauce (I use milk instead of heavy cream - save some calories) and added mushrooms and bacon and peas, and it was good. Actually, I didn't really notice the peas, except that I didn't quite cook them long enough and they were a tad too crunchy. But slightly too crunchy is better than mushy in my book any day.

    And I've not had any luck getting recipes that make peas taste like a milkshake. Bummer. :)

  4. I'll eat 'em! They look delish! My peas are a measly 3 inches tall right now. This lousy weather even has the peas in a bad mood!

    Your daughter is adorable, by the way.


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