Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday in the South

I love summer. I love the big, white puffy clouds, green lawns, tanned feet, flip-flops, the smell of the pool, fresh tomatoes with salt, air conditioning, tree frog music, white cotton nightgowns, and the farmer's market, just to name a few things.

In keeping with summer, I put up 8 lbs. of lady finger peas, also known as lady peas. In NE Ohio, I grew up thinking peas were round, green and best when eaten fresh from the garden. After being in the south for 20 years, I realize that there is a fine line between peas and beans, and there are more of each than you can shake a stick at. Beans in my part of Ohio were green beans, which you dumped in a pan, added some salt and pepper and served hot. They were also the things that showed up in baked beans (from a can) and the week after Easter, in bean soup. I think those were Navy beans. And let's not forget kidney beans, which were always in chili. I don't remember anyone I knew who LOVED beans. Maybe just some old people. I still remember having a pot luck dinner in my 6th grade class, and my teacher, Mrs. Buck, made 3-bean salad. I was mortified. Didn't she realize that kids didn't eat that sort of thing?

In the south, it's a whole different game. Those round green peas are English peas (!) and you have things like lady fingers, crowder, field peas, etc. There are pinto beans, ford hooks, green beans, which you cook all day with fatback and/or bacon and lots of salt and pepper. Oh yeah, black-eyed peas. And about 500 more. Beans with lunch, beans with supper, and who knows, maybe beans with breakfast, but I've never done that. They love their beans and peas down here, and guess what? I do, too!! The strange thing is that my husband was born and raised down here, and he won't eat anything but green beans. That's it. That didn't stop me fom buying and freezing those 8 lbs. of lady fingers. They're small beans (peas!) that I've had cooked in chicken broth, with salt added. They're creamy, with a mild flavor. Totally yummy. This is what they look like after blanching and before freezing. I looked up some recipes for these beautiful veggies, and found all kinds of different dishes. Lady Pea Salad, Lady Peas with bacon and corn, marinated Lady Peas, pan roasted pork chops with lady peas and tomatoes, and Lady Peas with salt pork and rice (I'm gonna make that one!) I even found recipes for making jellly out of pea hulls!


Betsy said...

You are mistaken, my dear. That last picture is clearly corn and peas. I think you need a vacation to the northern regions!

Theresa said...

Yo Biatch, I took the picture - it's all lady peas. Big dummy.

Betsy said...

Don't get your panties in a bunch, Sister, I believe you! (But it does look like corn!)