It’s a term of endearment here in the United States. “Ah, my little sweet pea, I love you so much!”
But in my case, it’s very literal. I LOVE sweet peas, what are sometimes called shell peas, or English peas, or peas-in-the-pod. When I was small, it was the biggest treat my mother could bring home from the fruit-and-vegetable store, a big pile of fresh green peas in their pods, ready to shell and share, one for the pot, one for me. It seemed like springtime was always a delicious season of sweet peas.
But for decades and decades, I don’t know what happened, but sweet peas disappeared. Too short a season to be profitable? Too much labor to pick? I don’t know. All I know is I had to get my sweet peas poured from a frozen package. Better than nothing, I guess, but still, not really good enough.
Until this very morning. Local strawberries are just in, so I drove up the road to the farm stand to get a basket for dessert this evening, and guess what I found! Well, I signaled it. You’re right, I found sweet peas.
I bought a basket, of course, and brought them home, and showed my treasure to the Hub. Within a matter of minutes, the pile of peas was reduced to this:
Only the pods were left. The lovely small sweet peas were already just a memory.
But I did refrain long enough to snap one perfect pod.
How long is their season? If it’s a couple of days, it’s a long time. Global warming, global cooling, global perversity: whatever, it’s wreaked havoc on the sweet peas. This morning was thrilling, in that aesthetic Japanese way of aware, the ephemeral nature of a phenomenon making it all the more precious. So I am aware that this morning was a very special morning, a revisiting of beloved sweet peas and youth and innocence.
Now I must comfort myself with strawberries.
Hey, they’re locally grown, fresh from the strawberry patch, large and luscious and ripe and red — With a little crême fraîche — I think it will work as consolation!
NB: Here is the consolatory dessert — not bad, eh?
Do you remember some vegetable or fruit that was a special treat when you were young? Is it still available, or only a memory?