Today for lunch I brought some leftover brown rice and black beans, and a handful of English peas. Growing up, we grew peas on the vine in my backyard. I don't know if they were specifically "English" or not, but I always used to eat them pod and all. When I bit into one of these English pea pods that I brought, it was so tough and not at all chewable! So of course I googled the proper way to eat these. What I found, in addition to learning that the pods are best eaten when steamed, was delightful! Peas have an under-publicized pop history, according to Leah A. Zeldes of Dining Chicago. She writes:
They were mainly used dried until the 17th century, when green peas became all the rage in the French court as Françoise d’Aubigné, marquise de Maintenon, wrote in 1696: “This subject of peas continues to absorb all others, the anxiety to eat them, the pleasure of having eaten them and the desire to eat them again, are the three great matters which have been discussed by our princes for four days past. Some ladies, even after having supped at the Royal table and well supped too, returning to their own homes at the risk of suffering from indigestion, will again eat peas before going to bed. It is both a fashion and a madness.”
When was the last time a vegetable was all the rage! Too funny.