Whether from a childhood Halloween costume, grocery delivery service, or maternity outfitter, we’re all familiar with the concept of peas in a pod. But for all this anthropomorphizing of the charming vegetable, how often do you actually see a pea in its pod?
There are snow peas, the flat, slightly crescent shaped legumes common in Asian stir-fries, but like green beans and sugar snap peas, these pods can be consumed shell and all. Then, there are the lumpy bags of crystallized peas found in the freezer section. But, once upon a time, there was such a thing as a shelling pea, a long, waxy-skinned pod, lined with vibrant green orbs.
In the movies, shelling or garden peas (as they are commonly known), play a starring role in porch scenes where Southern women hull away the afternoon. This week, I came across a literary reference to shelling peas, which sent me straight to the farmers’ market.
“I love how you can snap a pea’s stem and pull the string and how it leaves a perfect seam that opens easily under your thumbnail. And then you find those sweet, starchy peas in their own canoe of crisp, watery, and almost sugary pod.”
-Gabrielle Hamilton, Blood, Bones & Butter