Tuesday, July 07, 2009

“Hon’, those ain’t no red beans!”

There are hundreds of vegetables out there I do not know about or have never tasted or refuse to eat.  The refuse to eat go into “miscellaneous” veggies.  They include squash, zucchini (except bread), eggplant, cauliflower (raw I’ll eat), broccoli (raw here too).

I’ve grown a lot of different veggies over the years and having friends which come from other areas of the country, it is interesting to find some of the regional differences. 

Peas are one of them.  The girls and I love sugar snap peas in the spring and enjoy snacking on them raw.  English peas, or green peas, also a veggie which has a really short growing season here as it takes more cold than we get in the spring, I have to have to build ‘bird nests’ with my mashed potatoes when I have meatloaf.  But down here, south of the Mason-Dixon line, peas means something different from the rest of the country.

Peas down here means ‘field’ peas – crowder, purple hull, black eyes – gold Ole’ Southern field peas.

So when I was at the farmer’s market and waiting for them to weight out and hand me my beans (green snap one of course) and peas, here comes a couple wandering up.

The woman leans over and goes “What are those red beans?”


It could a couple of seconds for those of us standing around to realize what she meant.

I turned to her and told her they were “field or Southern peas”.

“Oh, we’re from up North.  Do you just cook them?” she asked.

Three people scramble over themselves to show her you needed to shell the peas first, then cook them.  The conversation then veered off to what you like to do while shelling peas or snapping beans.  (My favorite is watching TV.)

The woman shakes her head and turns away “sounds like too much work” she says.  The rest of us step up to get some more peas.  After all, throw a little ham or bacon in there, cook them up, served with fresh corn and tomatoes and it’s out of sight. A pan of cornbread helps out too.


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