The Green Nectar of the Gods
August 19, 2020 4:42 AM   Subscribe

Purée de Pois are a traditional and upmarket delicacy (Yorkshire Caviar) within the UK. Much loved by MeFites, they often accompany Poisson et Frites, or occasionally battered toblerone. Marrowfat peas, mature and field-dried, are soaked in baking soda, boiled (till they explode) then simmered (or make your own variation)(though mashed are not genuine). These are too liquid. A visitor, and another, try some. In Nottingham, the delicacy is carefully cooked over a coal or coke fire and served with mint. TV ad and a review. Enjoy as booty (sandwich). Or, eat with moist butt, goujons, waffles, steak and ale pie, as a pizza topping, a fish butty, with curried scraps, on toast as the breakfast of champs, in fishcakes, or as an artisanal ice cream.
posted by Wordshore (59 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
(This post inspired by a dream I had last night, featuring Glastonbury Abbey, excalibur rising from a small lake of mushy peas while O Fortuna played, and ... oh, never mind. I'm going to the chippy for their lunchtime deal. Anyone else want some?)
posted by Wordshore at 4:48 AM on August 19 [13 favorites]


So its savory? Or sweet?
posted by museum of fire ants at 4:56 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


i approve of every delicious wordshore post 'til now, but mushy peas are an abomination

ya daft ha'peth
posted by lalochezia at 4:57 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Also delicious when cooked with onions, ginger, garlic and curry spices to make mushy pea dhal.
posted by dowcrag at 5:07 AM on August 19 [14 favorites]


I'm afraid that catholic school institutional mushy peas in the 1970s broke me, as far as this particular delicacy is concerned. Also pilchards.
posted by pipeski at 5:29 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I prefer pease pudding myself.
posted by misteraitch at 5:37 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]




I like pea soup and I like fish and chips, but I'm not seeing the connection. Especially if you add mint to the peas, I've never been able to understand why people do that.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:25 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


While I personally enjoy peas, my kid loathed them so much growing up that they insisted I tell every summer camp, every afterschool program, and every other institution that they had an actual allergy to them. Thanks for the post!
posted by Bella Donna at 6:35 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Yeah well I had a dream last night where our house had a pool and there was a shark in it and it was an enormous hammerhead and then it was oh about as big as a bus or two and it had flopped out and was eating my house and there was a moment where I was nuh-uh brain I can tell you're trying to be scary and like fuck do I need scary right now so I declare that the shark is three guys in a shark suit and lo I had spoken and I was cross at them for messing up my house and hmmmm okay brain I accept your compromise I can do a frustration-and-annoyance dream so I fumed about it for a little bit and then woke up like ya do

Also there is a can of mushy peas, like the official MUSHY PEAS! with the cheerful logo, in the cupboard that we should eat soon but the question is what with?
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:36 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


I like pea soup and I like fish and chips, but I'm not seeing the connection.

My take is that mushy peas and pea soup are related, but different. Mushy peas have more of a mash consistency. I think you're shading in the Oz Pie floater, which is made from blue boiler peas, which I believe is a regional name for marrowfat peas (or something close).
posted by zamboni at 6:53 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


My favourite chippy (that a couple of Toronto mefites have been to) has a small 1970s-era slow cooker near the back of the shop that's always full of good mushy pea goo.

The canned ones are a bit luminous, but a box of Bigga peas is worth the 12–16 hour prep time. Soaking them with the supplied alkali tablets really cuts down the fartiness: they're definitely “hoist northerly cones” material.
posted by scruss at 6:54 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


I clicked the “upmarket” link to a recipe for Nigella’s upmarket mushy peas, finding a recipe whose ingredients include “1 clove of garlic, peeled but left whole,” and never mentioned again. I imagine it presiding over the proceedings, lending its subtle garlic essence from the sidelines somehow, but it seems more likely you pop it in just before blending.
posted by sjswitzer at 7:21 AM on August 19 [13 favorites]


In less sparse versions of the recipe, you bring the water to boil with the clove, cook the peas, and then discard the clove.
posted by zamboni at 7:39 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


This post is perverse
posted by glasseyes at 8:26 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


correction, pea-verse.
Peaverted.
posted by glasseyes at 8:26 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Mushy peas are disgusting, but what's the historical background here? They seem to date from the mid-1800s, which would explain the baking soda in them - it was the hot new ingredient back then, making all sorts of food possible. It was probably a relief at the time to have some other way of dealing with your excess crop of marrowfat peas that wasn't 'eat more marrowfat peas', and mushy food was often reserved for the upper classes because nobody had any good dentistry (think caviar, foie gras, etc). I suspect it probably got a second surge in popularity with the spread of canning, as mushy peas are already a grey, colourless blob that has no taste, so it was perfect for the early canned food ranges. It is, however, a perfectly horrible foodstuff, and the sort of things that other countries laugh about when they think of 'British food'.
posted by The River Ivel at 8:32 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


They are also excellent with pickled eggs, about which strong opinions are also widely shared. Chips, mushy peas and pickled eggs is my optimum chip shop meal.
posted by dowcrag at 8:44 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Marrowfat peas are the perfect starter pea for anyone looking to break into the world of peas. Bugger than normal peas but still whole, and not mushy. Just nice and soft and mellowly pea like. Especially good with a roast dinner. Yum!
posted by RandomInconsistencies at 8:50 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


well they are an acquired taste which I have partially acquired. To anyone who hasn't tasted them, they are like a slightly sweet, slightly nutty, very green soft sulphur paste.

It's one of those particular things you can form a slightly performative attachment to like ... ooh I don't know (having just watched Secret Garden) ... grilled pork tripe barbecue or sparkly tracksuits

River Ivel yes they can be grey but most of the ones I've had have been positively flourescent
posted by glasseyes at 8:52 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


They are also excellent with pickled eggs...

I second this. Though when I lived in Sheffield with partner, she always insisted on the bedroom window being wide open through the night after an evening of grazing pickled eggs dripping with mushy peas (not innuendo).

Bugger than normal peas...

Yes, well, that's Bristol I guess.
posted by Wordshore at 8:55 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


but I'm not seeing the connection

Wordshore speaks for the North!
posted by glasseyes at 8:57 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


God damn edit window!

*Bigger
posted by RandomInconsistencies at 9:00 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Jesus Christ, this whole Brexit thing starts making sense now.
posted by ouke at 9:08 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


My favourite chippy (that a couple of Toronto mefites have been to) has a small 1970s-era slow cooker near the back of the shop that's always full of good mushy pea goo.

Oooh! Which one is that? I've never seen mushy peas at a fish & chip shop in Toronto, only in the UK.
posted by jb at 9:22 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]



This post is perverse

All we are saying is give peas a chance.
posted by The otter lady at 9:28 AM on August 19 [15 favorites]


Oooh! Which one is that?

I don't know if this is the one they are talking about but Old Yorke on Laird Drive used to have mushy peas on the menu (I haven't been in a long time so I'm not sure what their status is - the restaurant or the mushy peas formerly served there). Sometimes if you can find a fry shack run by Newfoundlanders they will have mushy peas on the menu.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:50 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Peas with mint are a delicious combination, but what I wish for more than anything is Peas in Our Thyme.
posted by benzenedream at 10:13 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


A warning: pea colouring colours your pee.
posted by StephenB at 10:48 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Grey peas, anyone?
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 10:58 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


 Oooh! Which one is that?

St Andrew's — McCowan and Ellesmere. They fry in proper dead animal fat, IIRC.
posted by scruss at 11:03 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


"Mushy Pea Booty" conjures up all sorts of images that sound more medical than culinary, none of them appetizing. At first I'd assumed the OP had misspelled "butty" and I clicked on the link. But no such luck, this is actually a mushy pea sandwich.

Strange how the phrase in two different contexts can provoke the same visceral response from me.
posted by eisenkrote at 11:04 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Oooh! Which one is that?

There is (was?) a hole-in-the-wall place near the Yorkdale Mall run by a Northern English couple that does excellent fish and chips, and homemade mushy peas as well.
posted by cardboard at 11:09 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


I had this a couple times in England, and a couple times in the USA, always with fish and chips. I really, really like it. It's not an exact comparison, but it's sort of like having warm hummus with crispy fried fish and potatoes. And put me in the camp that likes a little mint with peas.

I have no idea about real "British mushy peas", but I've made my own sort of "pea hummus" from fresh cooked green peas. Added olive oil, fresh mint, lemon juice and salt and blended it down with a hand-blender (boat motor). Served it warm/room temperature, black pepper on top. It's good on toasted bread much like hummus. You can do this with white beans— just add garlic and omit the mint. I've had that on crostini at italian restaurants and it's easy to whip up at home. White beans turn out super silky smooth. Works with all kinds of antipasti type stuff like dried tomatoes, olives, artichokes, roasted red peppers, salumi, cheeses, etc.

Think "variations on hummus made from legumes other than chick peas" and the ideas are endless.
posted by SoberHighland at 11:36 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


eat with moist butt

The WAP thread was last week, fella.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 11:56 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


As soon as I walk through the door I can smell it, and I don’t particularly like it, but it feels like tradition. From Martha My Dear Prudence's Grey Peas link, this made me laugh out loud. Isn't it true of a lot of childhood foods in adulthood though? Now one further step into maturity from there (possibly I mean resignation?) is once you realise the bacon can never be half as delicious as you thought it was without the slightly distasteful matrix of sulphurous pea mash you ingest with it.

That's disillusioned adulthood all right.
posted by glasseyes at 12:11 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Well, I love mushy peas, and will be heading out to buy some as soon as I've posted this. I like them with a lot of butter and cheese, and maybe a few potatoes, or mashed into patties and fried with bacon . They mostly come tinned, but you used to be able to get packets of dried marrowfat peas, which had to be soaked overnight (with a mysterious white tablet that must have been the bicarb) before cooking. Not to be confused with tinned garden peas, which are horrible.

Some of the combinations mentioned here sound pretty horrible though - being a soft southerner I'd never heard of a mushy pea butty and was happy in my ignorance, and that pizza sounds like yet another harbinger of the End Times.
posted by Fuchsoid at 12:13 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Oh, and I forgot to say; thank you so much Wordshore for these lovely food-related posts. Maybe one on steamed puddings next?
posted by Fuchsoid at 12:22 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Maybe one on steamed puddings next?

Everyone loves some hot spotted dick in their mouth, so it's a possibility.
posted by Wordshore at 12:51 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


I have no idea about real "British mushy peas", but I've made my own sort of "pea hummus" from fresh cooked green peas. Added olive oil, fresh mint, lemon juice and salt and blended it down with a hand-blender

Careful, you're heading into guacamole territory.
posted by biffa at 1:10 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Where I am originally from, up north, the done thing is to have a tray of chips with overlapping lashes of mushy peas and gravy. It's known locally as a mixture.

They're also big on potato scallops. Basically, more potato, fried in batter. A more economic option than fish, if less protein rich.
posted by biffa at 1:16 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


I'll try your grey peas, ta very much Martha My Dear Prudence. Here, have some black peas.
posted by StephenB at 1:19 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


>a warning: pea colouring colours your pee.

Pee green soup?
posted by Easy problem of consciousness at 1:55 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I've made my own sort of "pea hummus" from fresh cooked green peas.

You can make felafel out of marrowfat peas and serve them together in a bap. Fusion cuisine!
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:41 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


When I order steak and kidney pie at the tea shop, the owner always asked me if I want a side of mushy peas. I always say no.
posted by acrasis at 4:07 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


"pea hummus"

I might be misremembering but was there a minor scandal in the early 90s involving a Labour MP's faux pas of misidentifying the culinary majesty of mushy peas with hummus at a northern UK campaign event? Google fails me. Or maybe I'm confusing a bit of satire from Private Eye as an actual event? Probably the latter.
posted by Ashwagandha at 4:47 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Much loved by MeFites

"There is the theory of the möbius...."

(And all I have to do is write "mushy peas"!)

Oh, shit...
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 7:27 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Shit! My evil plan has failed! Links are not preserved in query results. Perhaps I’m not the first to have tried this?
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 9:42 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Nobody has mentioned peawet! Peawet is the excess liquid created while cooking, and is sold separately in some parts of North West England.

Good mushy peas have a wonderful rich flavour, they are cheap and nutritious. Think of them as being like refried beans or humous - an affordable source of protein and vitamins. The bicarb is optional if you cook your own.

Back when I lived in The Midlands I made the mistake of buying and eating a faggots and mushy peas sandwich (a lot of both, with gravy, piled into a large bread roll) while waiting for a train - it was delicious but it must be the messiest sandwich ever invented.
posted by BinaryApe at 10:46 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Preston's Parched Peas deserve a mention as a close relative of mushy peas.
posted by BinaryApe at 10:48 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I might be misremembering but was there a minor scandal in the early 90s involving a Labour MP's faux pas of misidentifying the culinary majesty of mushy peas with hummus

The story related to Lord Mandleson of the dark arts ordering guacamole in a Hartlepool chip shop. It was a myth spread by Neil Kinnock, apparently.
posted by StephenB at 1:41 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


In further news...

1) Mushy peas are predominantly a midlands and northern food. The south is sadly dominated by tomato ketchup, with the exceptions being Cornwall and Bristol. In British politics, the tomato sauce / mushy pea / curry sauce divide is known as the "red wall".

2) Some disappointment that HRH (allegedly) does not partake of the Green Nectar.

3) Mushy peas, alongside your fish supper as made by a son of Sheffield, are now available in t'northern city of Las Vegas.
posted by Wordshore at 8:40 AM on August 20


In English politics, you mean. Also, no-one eats ketchup in peas-like quantity.

In Scotland, the Salt & Vinegar / Salt & Sauce divide is something no-one wants to talk about.
posted by scruss at 9:34 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Hello! Nottingham here!

Actually, I'm not from Nottingham, I've just lived here for twenty years, and have regularly seen mushy peas in many a location. Why, the husband gets them all the time from the local chip shop, spread across chips with a fish cake resting on top.

And yet I still can't quite get into them. Like, I can see the appeal, and I have enjoyed them, but when you stick mint on them, I'm just...meh.

(Pepper and bacon, I think. That's what I need.)
posted by Katemonkey at 10:33 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Maybe one on steamed puddings next?

We're not too far from Bonfire Night, a deep dive into Bonfire Night food maybe? Pie & peas, flapjacks, parkin, toffee....mmmmm.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 9:37 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Maybe one on steamed puddings next?

We're not too far from Bonfire Night, a deep dive into Bonfire Night food maybe?


Considering both. Remembered that there was a post on spotted dick and other school foods from three years ago.

I have a growing suspicion that a Bristolian week of nutritional reverse-liposuction beckons in the near future and, to be honest, I am more up for this than anything else in this strangest of years. There will be much more inspiration for food-oriented posts; oh yes.
posted by Wordshore at 1:08 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Oh, and a simple search on Flickr provides many good pictures of mushy peas.
posted by Wordshore at 1:18 AM on August 21


On my current adventure, I've reached Worcester (where I went to school for five years). It's nice here when the sun is out (my usual picnic spot). But more importantly, tonight I ate these...
posted by Wordshore at 11:57 AM on August 27 [2 favorites]


The picnic spot made me envy you but then I saw the meal and now I feel only pity. Glad you enjoyed it!
posted by Bella Donna at 7:46 AM on August 29


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