I have fond memories of summer vacations at my Gramma’s house in Maine. We would visit every summer for at least a week and stay with my grandparents in their small Dutch Colonial on a tree-lined street in suburban Bangor. Sometimes we would go sight-seeing to the Coast but many days we spent hanging out with my Gramma doing the ordinary things.
Gramma was always busy. She never sat still. Often her work involved some sort of kitchen chore. She was often baking or cooking for a crowd, and every summer it seems we would spend at least one warm summer afternoon shelling peas for dinner outside on her picnic table.
Funny thing, I have never liked peas, but they evoke a sense of nostalgia from those afternoons spent shelling peas with my Gramma.
My Gramma passed away when I was in college, but we still visit Maine almost every summer. Now I’m the one bringing my kids to spend a week with their grandmother, and a few years ago, she introduced them to fresh peas.
I’d never bought peas because I don’t like them, so I was surprised and amused to discover that my kids LOVE PEAS. So much so that now I keep a bag of frozen peas on hand at all times. And since I’ve become more intentional about buying local produce during the summer months, I always keep my eye out for fresh shelling peas, but I can never seem to find them. It’s so bizarre. Does no one shell peas anymore? Not even at the farmer’s market can I usually find them!
So imagine my delight when a bag of English Peas showed up in my CSA box this week! Look how excited. (She asks that you please pardon her hair; she just got back from the swimming pool. I thought it was cute, but whatevs…) (Whatevs is her favorite word, so it seemed appropriate to use it here.)
I didn’t even know that the “shelling peas” that I grew up on were called English Peas. Did you???
Can you find them where you are???
Gramma always made a simple cream sauce (cream, butter, salt & pepper) for her peas and served them over boiled potatoes, which she would simply split and smash with a fork. My mother serves hers the same way. Unfortunately my meager little portion of peas from the CSA (which I split with a neighbor, making all the portions that much smaller) didn’t provide us enough to bother with the cream so I just served them beside a chicken casserole and called it dinner.
I guess they don’t need cream because the kids all agreed that these were indeed the best peas they’ve ever had . . . or at least since they were last in Maine two summer ago.
We are VERY excited to remedy this situation in just one month, when we will be driving up to stay at my grandfather’s lake cottage in Maine for a couple of weeks. I’m sure there will be an abundance of peas to be had.
Meanwhile, I should probably look into growing my own, shouldn’t I? How hard can it be??