During this recent trip to London I discovered peas suit me best consumed in limited quantities. When they are served in a pile, the nutty pea taste is too concentrated. The pea smell – wait that doesn’t sound appetizing… pea scent? flavor? None of them sound delicious. I blame the English language, where pea the vegetable sounds the same as pee a form of human waste: urine. Oh boy, I am not helping my case of trying to like peas.
Peas are a delightful addition to foods, especially Indian. I love them in curries and samosas, where the peas offset the spices and adds a slight sweetness. I also love wasabi peas – the dehydrated peas encased in a wasabi crust. Yum. But peas served starring in a side dish? No way. Forget about it.
My first time eating English fish and chips at a pub, I was taken aback by my side choices: mashed peas or peas. Pureéd peas served under a fish, for example, is something I can happily consume, but mashed peas at a pub kicked off my imagination in all sorts of directions — to the point where I was scared to try it. (I’ll save the gory details but in short, the lasting image of mashed peas in a pub involved a big green sea monster. Please don’t ask, I don’t know why either). So I ordered just peas.
I devoured the fish and chips no problem (by the way, British tartar sauce is so sweet. I ended up eating the fish with malt vinegar instead. That’s the brown bottle that looks like a BBQ sauce in the photo above). And left on my plate were a mound of peas. I felt like I was six years old again, pushing vegetables around on the plate. Slowly eating one pea at a time, while making a face every time I swallowed. I tried the grown-up method of nose plugging (only breathing through my mouth and plugging the air way of my nose) but it didn’t work. I could taste and smell the forresty almost grass like scent of the peas. So I profusely apologized to the server and almost asked for permission to not finish the peas.
In England, it is true what people say: peas. are. everywhere. and they should be. There are 35,000 hectares of peas grown in the UK each year. The 35,000 hectares of peas produces 160,000 tons of peas a year. That’s the weight of a cruise ship. About 4,000 herds of elephants, 800 blue whales and around 15,000 school buses. That’s a lot of peas. Of course peas are in everything.
Further googling taught me:
- an average Brit eats over 9,000 peas a year
- peas that are boiled with onions and spiced with cinnamon, is a powerful aphrodisiac
- fresh peas are frozen within two hours and half of being picked, so they are still full of their nutrients
- one service of fresh frozen garden peas contains as much vitamin C as two large apples
- 100 calories of peas contains more protein than a whole egg or tbsp of peanut butter
All sound so great and nutritious and healthy and appealing but I just don’t like peas by themselves. I’m planning to return to London again soon, so I am now on a mission to try to get myself to stomach peas by themselves. It’s not really becoming for an adult to crinkle their nose with watering eyes while eating a vegetable that is so loved in the UK. Will update progress.
Sorry peas, it’s not you. It’s me. Really.