Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Shelling Peas

I stopped at a farmer's market in northern Georgia near the North Carolina border on my way home from Institute for Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR) yesterday. I purchased corn, red potatoes, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, peaches, tomatoes, a Vidalia onion, okra, and purple hull peas.

I shelled the peas this afternoon. It evoked memories of sitting under the shade trees at my dad's Aunt Fannie Mae's or in my paternal grandparents' living room with paper bags for the hulls and large bowls in laps which held the peas. Everyone shelled peas as we conversed. Our fingers and nails turned purple. I did not enjoy doing this as a child, but as an adult, I appreciate the activity's relaxation. The sweaty work of tending the peas and picking them in the hot sun was done. Shelling them in the company of family and friends was a pleasure at the end of the hard work.

As I picked over the peas, in the same manner my mother taught me, it brought back memories of standing over the kitchen sink--sifting through them while looking for peas with worm holes or other defects which made them undesirable for eating. Mom taught me the difference in worm holes and discolorations so I would not toss more peas than necessary. We sorted each mess at least three times. How I'd love to do this with her once again!

I look forward to eating the fruit of my labor, even if I didn't grow them myself! Tomorrow's menu will include the peas, hand-breaded fried okra, sliced tomatoes, and cornbread. I'll cut a little onion into the peas. Dessert will include peaches--perhaps a cobbler or peaches and (ice) cream. I'll probably add some pan-fried potatoes if leftovers remain. Southerners eat well when the summer harvest comes!

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