Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Leguminous, again.

I know, I photograph these things every year.  These pea photos are from last week, we've already had the first meal with them.  Soon there'll be enough for pea sandwiches, which is the high point of the pea season, but can only really be indulged in when they are at they're most plentiful, don't ask me why, it's just one of those things you're supposed to do when you have a glut of fresh peas, which is in fact a contradiction in terms; how could you ever have too many fresh peas?  

Recipe: lightly blanched peas, drained and slightly mashed, butter, black pepper, in brown bread.  That's all.

I don't normally do this, as I don't like my hands.  I mean I don't care for how they look, particularly in photos, where I sometimes find myself grumpily asking how my mother managed to get her hands into the shot.  As tools I'm perfectly happy with them.


Mol would sell her soul for fresh peas, even, or perhaps especially, the pods.  If you put a pod of freshly picked peas (bought ones from market or supermarket are not quite so irresistible), a piece of freshly roast duck meat, and a piece of chocolate (which she's never really had anyway and has no great desire for, we can eat it without any excessive groaking on her part), it would be the pea pod she'd go for first.  If she thinks I have one in my hand she bounces along at my heels like a border collie puppy in obedience training, and our shared delight in munching them straight from the plant as soon as they are ripe (I have to pick them and give them to her, she doesn't steal them) is perhaps another reason why we never experience a glut of them.

When I give her the discarded pods, I tend to peel away the inner, plasticky, opercule which can make her sick, which is also the way to enjoy pea pods oneself without being left with a stringy unswallowable mass in one's mouth, a tip I picked up reading Pierre Jakez Helias.

She will settle for a broad bean though. ( I left my feet and ankles in this one, since though I don't much care for the appearance of those either, I like my split old vinyl sabots and that ancient summer skirt.

The broad beans (fava beans in US English I think, must be related to the French fève) are pink ones, Karmazyn variety, and look rather like fat pink thumbs themselves.

The pea beans, a kind of climbing French bean grown for its skewbald fruit best dried and stored, will be along later.


Ellena said...

Aha, that's how you do it. You take X-Rays of the peas until they show a full-grown pod and then you
harvest and end up with a vegetarian dog.
35 degrees today.

Zhoen said...

I love the look of working hands.

Must plant more legumes, and variety of them, next year. Good for the soil.

the polish chick said...

keep those pictures coming. nothing wrong with a little leguminosity!
when i was a child, growing up in poland, i always peeled off the plasticky layer and ate the pea pod. i think i liked it better than the peas inside!

Catalyst said...

Paint your fingernails a luminous red. SWMBO has just decided to do that to her toenails, tiny as they are. Some of them only take a dot but I love the color.

Catalyst said...

Oh, and I LOVE your pea pictures. I've always been amazed by those circular twistings of the (vines?)

Roderick Robinson said...

Look, this business with hands. It's cake and eating it. Despite protestations to the contrary, Box Elder sings out competence both in what you do and the way you describe it. After all, I've only to scroll back a line or two and I find you blanching peas. Or recommending others do. I've always wanted to blanch something, not because I believe it to be an esoteric process but because of a secret desire to use the word in throwaway fashion. Were the subject carpentry mitring (perhaps mitreing) would offer the same appeal.

You're satisfied with your hands as tools. But privily you've always been turned on by the bronze moulding (possibly posthumous which makes it even more romantic) of Chopin's hand. Clearly the hand of someone who never did a useful day's work in his life. Music? Who needs music?

I'm ahead of you here. My paternal grandfather had hands like Chopin and in his latter years he spent hours stroking and contemplating them. Long and spatulate, they were. And he, like Chopin, never did useful work. He was a Baptist minister.

And as you suspected - given what a clever-clogs you are - I have inherited my grandfather's hands. Suitable for tapping out feuilletons on a keyboard and nothing else. Distinctly un-useful. Wood warps into sine waves at my touch. My topiary is risible. The only intrinsic benefit my fingers provide is that they are spatulate - a killer word at cocktail parties but I'm not invited to many of those these days.

You cannot have it both ways. Spatulate fingers would send pointing (the DIY sort) and certainly grouting into forbidden territory. Perhaps it's the word "competence" that's causing the itch. But it shouldn't. That facility can be extended out of the garden and the kitchen into much more louche fields of endeavour. Reflect! Imagine!

christopher said...

Green is so far and away my favorite color!

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

How did Molly learn to like peas and pea pods? Isn't that, like, strange for a dog? (Please notice the tongue in my cheek for 'like').
But nobody could possibly fail to love the peas in your photos. Pea soup every day for me.

zephyr said...

those crisp, cool photographs are beautiful--i love the tendrils, too--and the perfect thing for these eyes while it is SO bloody hot here. Very refreshing.

My setter, Obadiah, loved them so much, he would actually try to nibble them off the vines.

Anonymous said...

Lucy, when I see your photos, I can’t help thinking of Raimbaud’s evocation of ” la rame viride du pois” Your peas are very “virid “ indeed. Another shade of” glas “, isn’t it?
I suppose you haven’t heard the bellowing (“brame”) of peas, as Raimbaud puts it.

Entends comme brame
près des acacias
en avril la rame
viride du pois !

One certainly needs to drink a few glasses of “absinthe” liquor before being able to perceive it.

Lise( Lysevaine) said...

Ils sont beaux tes petits pois, et c'est si bon de les manger avec un röti de veau en cocotte.
Autrefois nous en mangions crus dans le jardin. Il fallait qu'ils soient très jeunes.
Il faudra encore attendre quelques jours pour commencer les nôtres. Il a fallu les protéger des oiseaux avec un filet.
On aime aussi beaucoup les fèves, mais la réussite n'est pas toujours là. On compte sur un voisin pour ça ( Rires!)

Francesca said...

I have never considered pea sandwiches before, but will definitely try it when my peas are ready. The photos are beautiful, the tendrils absolutely perfect.

Lucy said...

Thanks all.

Ellena - yep, goes on getting hotter here too. I've been trying to catch these peas as the evening sun come through them for several days now. Molly has always been fond of her veg, and grows more so, courgettes and carrots are also favourites, though the latter, when raw, she evidently isn't capable of digesting properly... she likes raw potato too, but the vet has advised against this. Fruit she enjoys as long as it isn't too acid - pears are good but apples only of they aren't too sharp, citrus not at all. Dogs are omnivores, like us, of course.

Zhoen - more and more as I age I appreciate that things work above their beauty, though I do also love to see beautiful hands too. Legumes are something we should all be cultivating and consuming more, a good return in terms of protein and general nutrition against what they take out of the soil. I'll try to post about my companion planting of beans, corn and squash later.

PC - nice to see you! I'm not sure opercule is an English word, maybe operculum, or just membrane. I suppose mange-tout peas don't have it. It's very satisfying when you can get it off in one piece isn't it?

Bruce - I do paint my toenails, in quite fancy ways, but never could really ornament my hands, any more than I can put on lipstick - to me my fingers and lips are working implements, and would look grotesque and misplaced being painted or bejewelled. But I must get creative with my toe nails soon! I too love the pea curly bits, I suppose they're tendrils?

RR - thanks, I enjoyed that! Blanching is just quick light boiling from the boiling point, but boiling has a bad name. My mother always assured me, pointing out televised instances, that pianists did not necessarily have long elegant fingers, short strong ones were just as good. Indeed, broad palms ensured I had a good reach on the keyboard from quite young, an easy octave lengthening to nine keys, but alas this did not of me a pianist make, I still had no significant musical talent. In fact, I'm not sure hands themselves make much difference to the gift one way or the other, it's the brain behind that counts. Tom has beautiful, elegant, possibly even spatulate, hands which are supremely practical in all sorts of ways. I must say though, I like to see strong, good sized hands, whether they're pretty or not; like Yeats I find small hands like Maud Gonne's not beautiful, but I'm sure they can be just as useful. Of Chopin's I'm afraid I know nothing, except the fantasy in one of Splike Milligan's books about how they used to get red-hot playing the piano and consequently Georges Sands' thighs were a mass of blisters!

Christopher - good! But best in nature. Nice to see you.

Natalie - apparently many dogs like peas! (See below). Dog's are ominivores, of course, and wild dogs will seek out fruit etc, and they do love sweet and starchy things. I can't really remember how we learned that M loved peas, she's always enjoyed and showed an interest in veg.

Zephyr - dogs often love peas, it seems; Marly's labrador is a fiend for tearing down the vines to get at them. Wishing you cooling rain, we might get some tonight and wouldn't be sorry.

Setu - wonderful, thank you! Viridian indeed. These are late, of course, they were whimpering rather than bellowing in April. Very 'glas' indeed!

Lucy said...


Lyse - mais vous mangez vos petits pois trop petits ici! Ils accompagnent n'importe quoi à mon avis, ou bien tous seules, aussi bon crus que cuits! J'ai remarqué aujourd'hui les merles regarder les petits pois, mais j'arriverai avant eux. Je mets le filet contre les lapins surtout. Est-ce que tu vas à Quessoy pour la fête du chapeau de paille?

Francesca - make pea sandwiches ASAP!

Lise said...

Je ne sais pas encore. J'aurais beaucoup aimé. Si mon mari ne vient pas, je ne vais pas. Je n'irai pas seule . Ils vont avoir beau temps , c'est formidable .
A toi Tu y vas ?

Rouchswalwe said...

These cool pea pics are very soothing at the tail end of our heat wave. The vines look as though they are composing music. And sweet Molly hears that delightful melody and enjoys the taste of green summer! Delightful! Give her a special fur ruffle for me please!

Theodore said...

This is fantastic!