On Shelling Peas

city flower

There’s a rhythm to the ritual of shelling peas. Squeeze the pod between your two thumbs and the seam splits open. Sometimes there are five peas inside, sometimes just two. Almost always they’re smushed right up next to each other so that their roundness is squared off at the sides. Once the seam has split, if you pull just one of your thumbs through the thin shell it will loosen the smushed spheres and the one by one the peas will plonk themselves into the bottom of your bowl. The sound is sharp at first, but it dulls as the pile grows larger. It takes about a half hour to shell a bowl of peas. It’s not a task suitable for multitasking. Your mind can wander, but the action requires two hands. Two for the squeezing, two to speed up the plonking.  If you’re in a rush or not used to a few quiet moments alone with your thoughts, these minutes with your peas might feel like an eternity. This is probably a good thing. A little lesson in patience and sticktoitiveness that finishes with the sweetest reward: a whole bowlful of peas to cook in butter until they’re bright green and bursting with flavor.[gallery link="file", exclude="2086" ]