Thursday, July 10, 2008

Peas, Potatoes, and 500 Posts

A bumper crop of purple hull peas this year. I shelled a bushel when I was home last week and eyed the remaining swelling pods that clinged to the vine with satisfaction. A garden is such a reward. God is good; we need our gardens.

I love shelling peas. It's a strange thing to love, but there it is. When I was a girl - about nine or ten - my mother would take us to see my Granny and Papa who lived on O'Farrell Road. It was only a few miles away. Granny and Papa gardened, as everyone's grandparents seemed to do then. By July they'd have bushel baskets of peas waiting on us, their official pea shellers. We'd sit on the porch, on the cool concrete slab, and watch our thumbs turn purple from the slicing open the pods and scooping out the peas. We'd break frequently for iced teas or cold watermelon or a lunch of fried chicken, potatoes, green beans and cornbread. Pea shelling didn't seem like a chore then and doesn't seem like one now. Strange how that works.

While browsing at Central Market this week, I noticed a display of Ziploc bags of peas. They were labeled: Purple Hull Peas, $7.99. For a sandwich-sized bag! Note to self: plant enough peas next year to sell to Central Market. Mark them Organic Purple Hull Peas (because they are), $8.99. Get rich quick. Retire.

Purple hull peas are very earthy and mellow. Not anything like the green English pea. Perhaps they are most similar to black-eyed peas, only different. In the north, folks feed these crops to cattle. (Y'all are crazy.) In the south, we eat them with hot, buttered cornbread and fried potatoes. It is, hands down, my favorite meal. It is comfort on a plate. It is home in the mouth.

I'm headed back to Freeman House for the weekend. I intend to dig up all the garden's potatoes, shell more peas, and make the biggest cast iron pan of cornbread this world has ever seen. Then we'll sit underneath the ceiling fan and drain tall glasses of tea and taste home again. We'll be sure to remember what it's like to actually enjoy summer.

Today marks my 500th post on this blog. Five hundred. Wow. .. I've typed out 500 blog posts and still feel as though I haven't given this thing a fitting start. Why many of you have shown up to faithfully read and participate, I'll never know. But thanks anyway. This little place is an extension of me... of my home... and I've been proud to welcome each of you inside.

Here's to 500 more. -Brin

34 comments:

Patsy said...

Brin,
I just love your blog. But I am waiting for an update on dear, sweet Millie.

Sissy said...

Congrats on all those posts, Brin. And those peas! They look yummy and I know how fun it is to eat things that you have grown yourself.

I am waiting for an update on Millie, and the bakery!

Jenny said...

Conga-Rats, Brin!I'll have to try those peas some time. Sadly, I've never even heard of them. Sheesh, I need to get out more!

Hugs, to you and Miz Millie.

Tami said...

Brin,
I planted purple hull peas last year and thought they were a lot like black eyed peas. Maybe it's because I was raised in the north but now call the south home? Would you be willing to share a recipe or share some ideas on how to prepare purple hull peas?
Thank you.

~Tami
tlb81003@normalonline.com

Earthy Girl Friday said...

Oh Sweet, Brin. Cheers to 500 more.

Dinah said...

Congratulations on your 500th! Have a wonderful time dining on the peas, fried potatoes and cornbread. My mouth waters!

Suzy said...

Congratulation on your 500th post. I will eagerly read the next 500.

Suzy

ML/TX said...

Congratulations! I have so enjoyed reading each and every entry. Let us know when the peas and cornbread are ready. I'll bring the peach cobbler and homemade ice cream.

Pearls To Hide My Neck said...

Purple hull peas, cornbread and sliced tomatoes. Yummmmmm!
I haven't seen purple hull at Central Market this year. Only black eyed peas. I must go back!

Kristie said...

Congrats on the 500 post milestone!! I look forward to 500 more!!

It's the simple things in life, like shelling peas, that make it all worthwhile.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

Congratulations!

I will be waiting for the next 500. :)

I have two pictures of my mother on the table next to my bed. One is the two of us on my wedding day. The other is a black and white photo taken back in the 50s of her sitting outside shelling peas. :)

Ann said...

Boy do i have alot of post to go back and read. Thank you for welcoming me into your world . I read everyday and love it all .

Thanks Again!

Polly said...

Those peas look delicious, Brin. And nothing tastes as good as cornbread from an old cast iron skillet!

I'm looking forward to hearing from you about the magazine subscription I won in your giveaway 2 weeks ago.

Polly
milliways06@yahoo.com

Mia said...

Happy 500! And yes, God IS good. Amen.

linda t said...

Hey, you better be in for another 500! Cuz, we'll be here waiting for each and every one.
Blessings throughout your weekend in the garden and sitting out on your porch!

Grace =) said...

I love Central Market! I wish we had one here. :)

paisley penguin said...

Congratulations on 500 posts! Love reading your blog and now I will have to try purple hulled peas. I grew up and live in the Pacific Northwest (except for a stint in NC) and have NEVER tried these peas. Must get me (or grow me) some! :)

Grace =) said...

oh, and PS, congrats on your 500th post!

fairmaiden said...

Congrats on half a thousand posts!!!! Purple hull peas, never heard of 'em. They sound and look incredible. And with cast iron cornbread and fried potatoes, mmmm, oh so good! I'm a fried chicken, mashed potato, green bean, watermelon, sweet tea kind-a-girl. I too have memories of sitting on Grandma's patio in small,rural,Mitchell Nebraska(just south of Scottsbluff), shelling peas. But they we're green peas. My grandma is 83 now and its been 8yrs. without her childhood sweetheart, my grandpa, and she still has a big garden plot. Amazing, she is! I want to be just like her, in my older years.

Antonella said...

congratulations! I really love your blog. By the way here in Italy we don't have those peas, but your menu seems so yummy! Culinary envy from across the ocean?!
hugs to you and millie
Antonella

sea mystery said...

Congratulations on 500 posts Brin! Just hoping to make my first 100. Will have to start thinking of a giveaway at that time. :)

Love all your posts, recipes and words of wisdom that you impart to everyone. That's why I stick around. You're such a treasure to me.

Carolyn A. xxoo

Randi said...

Love your blog - I look forward to 500 more!

Brin said...

Polly - Thanks for commenting! I didn't have your email address and your blogger profile had me coming up empty. I'll be in touch shortly! -Brin

Kathi~Lavender, Lace and Thyme said...

Hey Brin...I've never seen purple hull peas before, they kind of look like something cows would eat! LOL! I think I will plant some of them and set up at the local farmers market next year myself...note to self, retire, perhaps next to Brin :).

Hugs,
MN Kathi :)

Kathi~Lavender, Lace and Thyme said...

PS,
Thank you for 500 wonderful posts, I look forward to many more :).

ancient one said...

Congrats on the 500... and yes, we'll be right here reading the next 500... you're one of my favorites!

betty r said...

Purple hull peas..haven't ever planted those, but they do look good..next year I'll join you in 'getting rich' by planting acres of them!! I can dream..sigh!
I love the flowers, so cheerful.
500 posts?? Wow, congrats, Brin.
I could go for some cornbread right about now..

Sue@CountryPleasures said...

Yes, 500 more at least!! Hope your feeling better soon!

nanatrish said...

Congrats on your 500th! I love your blog and I also can't believe $7.99 for a sandwich bag of beans. Yes, you need to grow them next year and you will be off to Europe quick with all that money. You are a great writer and always make me feel like I am right there experiencing your adventures. trish

Twyla and Lindsey said...

Thank you for all 500 posts! I have enjoyed every one of them. Thank you for sharing your life with us and for being such an inspiration! Twyla

Kimberly said...

Congrats on 500 posts! I've so enjoyed them, and look forward to many more. I hope I can be as dedicated:) God bless!
Kimberly

sewnut said...

500 posts and blog award!!, I am passing it forward. The award is on my blog if you want to share it too.
Thanks Brin for the cheery photos and sharing the comfy-feel good part of your life

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

And I nearly missed the opportunity to congratulate and thank you for all 500. I think I've read nearly every single one having spent a week at it some time ago and having been faithful to read daily or play catch-up when I must. Your blog is a gem and I can't imagine Blogdom without you in it, Brin.

Here's to the next five hundred!

Anonymous said...

Hooray for Central Market! And for kitchen gardens.