"SHELLING PEAS ON GRANDMA'S BACK PORCH"
"Peas are more than just a vegetable. They not only make good soup but they also have been used to heal wounds, make beer and foretell the future.
Peas are one of the earliest known cultivated plants, according to an article in Country Living, and were thought to have been first grown in Asia.
Peas were popular with the Egyptians some 4,000 years ago. Peasants in ancient Greece bought hot pea soup on street corners and peas were included in a number of Roman recipes.
The conquering Romans introduced peas to Europe and in medieval times peasants ate bread from pea flour or bought pea soup from the street vendors.
Peas traveled to the New World, where early settlers each received "2 bushels of pease" among the supplies meant to last them a year.
It was about that time that the language changed. Previously, "pease" was a collective word for both singular and plural. Now it referred only to the plural and the new word "pea" was singular.
The plural spelling did not change from "pease" to "peas" until the end of the 19th century.
Peas also have been used as medicine. In Germany, they were applied to wounds and bruises. In China, they were believed to help fight fevers. In In Scotland they were prescribed to ease chest pains. In many countries, measles patients were washed in water saved from boiled peas. The first American herbal guide in 1801 said peas were softening, nourishing and laxative.
Other pea products include whistles and pea-shooters, peapod wine and pea beer.
In Scotland, men chewed a variety of wild peas before a drinking session to give whiskey a better flavor. In Holland, peas were enjoyed roasted. The Persians cooked peas in cinders, salted them and popped them into their mouths like peanuts.
Peas have also been made into pudding, as in the nursery thyme about the "pease pudding in the pot, nine days old."
Peas have their place in the folklore of many countries. In England, when a girl found nine peas in pod, she would put it over the kitchen door. The next man to walk in would be her husband.
In Scotland at Halloween, a couple would each place a pea in the fire. If the peas stayed together, it meant they would marry. If one of the peas moved, its owner was fickle and there would be no wedding.
Fairy stories are full of peas...the princess and the pea, dwarfs turning peas into gold coins, peas scattered on stairs to make villains slip. Frequently, heroes and heroines had to sort an enormous heap of peas in one night.
By COUNTRY LIVING
A HEARST MAGAZINE
Florence Morning News...June 17, 1987
When I was a little girl, my cousin and I loved to have a "pea shelling contest" sitting on grandma's back porch, Kershaw Street, Timmonsviliie, S. C. Grandma gave the one that shelled the most peas a quarter. When the peas were shelled, she would cook a big pot full, smothered with a piece of fatback and they were delicious....