Shelling peas… an exercise in frustration

What an insane, crazy couple weeks at work.  Seriously.

On the upside, I have been using cooking and workout classes as a way to wind down after getting out of work.  I cooked Mike a light, summer pasta dish last Wednesday night with the thought that he could enjoy it when he came home from work.  As it turned out, he had to work late so he ate dinner in Everett and I heated it up for him Thursday night instead.

Also, on Thursday night I decided to see what all the fuss was about and I headed to a Zumba class.  If you’re not familiar with Zumba it’s supposed to be a Latin dance-inspired cardio workout class.  I got a deal on a package of 20 classes, so I am even getting to try this with minimal financial discomfort.  It was so much fun! It was an energy-packed class where we ‘danced’ to really motivating music.  I use ‘danced’ in a loose way, because the choreography is really repetitive and easy to follow so that non-dancers can learn it.  It was so fun that I went back Saturday morning as well.  And I still have 18 more classes left… pretty awesome, and a great way to unwind from work!  Mike has to work late tomorrow night, so I’m probably going to take another class tomorrow night.

Yesterday I got a box of fresh produce.  This was great, but also motivating since I still had two bags of peas I hadn’t gotten around to shelling, much less cooking up. So last night was my ‘let’s get all the old produce cooked up to make room in the fridge for the new produce’ night.

Just to set the stage for my night last night:

– It had been an insane day at work.  Not one I want to repeat.  Enough said.

– I was clearing a space on my counter for the peas and knocked a (fortunately empty!) coffee mug off the counter and it broke into a bunch of pieces which I had to clean up.

I hate to spoil the surprise, but shelling these peas was a really frustrating experience.  So, if anyone sees anything significant I’m doing wrong in reading this post, definitely leave me a comment so I can learn from it and improve the next time I get peas.  Fortunately I got green and purple beans this week instead of peas, and snapping beans is a LOT easier than shelling peas.  At least in my opinion.  🙂

Anyway, I pulled out the first bag of peas and examined them.  I had never shelled a pea in my life but I supposed I could just kind of squash the shells to get inside and then the peas would fall out.  I dumped all the peas into a colander and grabbed the first one.  I squashed the shell, but it didn’t squash correctly (‘correctly’ being the word I’m choosing to describe the behavior I wanted).  It just  squashed… it didn’t really allow me to get at the peas.  I grabbed the seam of the pea pod and pushed at it to get it to squash the ‘correct’ way.  It squashed again, but not correctly.  Now I just had a mangled pea pod.  I navigated my thumbnail into the seam and was able to pull it open enough so that I could stare at five peas that seemed signficantly smaller than the peas I’d seen before.  They were attached to the pod, so I had to pull them off.  As I was pulling them off, *ping!*, a couple of the mini peas sprung off of the pod and hit the floor.

That was Pea Pod #1.  I had about 30 or 40.  And Pea Pod #1 was a pretty representative pea pod.  Half an hour later, I was darkly deciding that peas were the worst vegetable in the world.  Peas littered my floor (the first pod wasn’t the only one that had sent several peas ricocheting off the floor and counter).  I had a large pile of mangled pea pods and a small cup of peas.  Seriously.  It was only about half a cup.  All kinds of thoughts went through my head.  Why do people eat peas anyway?  I could buy a can of peas at the store for $.69.  That’s an insanely low price for all the work that goes into shelling.  Or else there’s some trick to this that I’m not getting.  Or a tool!  Maybe a tool like the cotton gin.  Except for peas instead of cotton.  Am I going to be picking peas off of my counter and floor for the next year?  These things are going everywhere.  It’s bad enough to put in this much effort with so few peas in return, but it’s even worse when a bunch of peas end up on the floor.  This is decreasing my already tiny number of peas.

I don’t care.

I don’t like peas.

Peas are a stupid vegetable.

Suffice it to say, by the time I had finished I glared at the tiny cup of peas and decided any one who needed to eat peas could go to Whole Foods and buy them canned.

Then I got out the second bag of peas.  While I was at it, I was definitely going to get this whole job done.

The peas in the second bag looked different.


Maybe I should have re-read that email from the organic farm about the produce before I started shelling.  I went back and re-read it.

So, apparently I had shelled sugar snap peas that are meant to be left in the pods and stir-fried or eaten raw.  Ahh.  Illumination.  This is what happens to people who don’t read the directions (although you wouldn’t think that peas really require their own instruction book).

The second bag of peas yielded peas three to four times bigger than the sugar snap peas, so I had to get a bowl to put the peas in.  That was a satisfying feeling.  Plus shelling them went much faster because their pod was puffy rather than flat.  Also, there were fewer rebel peas who pinged into the air and on to the floor.  All in all, it was a much better experience.  When I was done, I washed the peas and threw them into the steamer.  A few minutes later, I started to smell fresh peas.  I carefully raised the lid on the steamer and saw that they were turning a bright green.  I poured them into a bowl and let them sit for a few minutes.  Gosh, they looked gorgeous.  I nibbled on a couple and re-thought my stance that no one needed fresh peas.  These were definitely better than the ones out of a can.

So.  That is the story of how I changed my mind about fresh peas.  However, I still feel like if you want to test someone’s patience, force them to shell a big bag of sugar snap peas.

Why do I always gravitate towards writing about cooking?  Probably because it apparently takes me hours to get a bowl of peas from shell to cooked so I have time for little else besides cooking.

Last night Mike and I went to Paddy Coynes for a relaxing dinner.  It had been a long day at work for both of us and we were tired.  I think we spent the entire time there talking about our jobs.  But when we left and entered the cool evening air and walked home, we felt refreshed.  That’s what Paddy Coyne’s does.  🙂

I am getting excited for Cathy and Todd’s baby… I can’t wait to hear the news that she has arrived!  As a word of warning, Mike and I will want to see PICTURES!  In the absence of actually being there, we need to see pictures.  I’m waiting for one that will have all three little cousins together.  🙂

This weekend was HOT!  Mike and spent most of our day sweating in our small apartments trying to point fans at us wherever we sat.  Piper was also uncomfortable.  The Blue Angels were performing in Seattle for their yearly show at the Wooden Boats festival near Lake Union, so there was lots of loud plane noise from overhead the entire weekend.  Poor Piper spent most of Saturday under the bed waiting for the terrible noises to go away.  We definitely did a lot of going out this weekend to avoid the stuffy apartments.  We went to the hardware store and Mike bought a thermometer so that he knew how hot his apartment was getting.  He also bought a clock to put in his bathroom so in the morning while he is getting ready for work he knows how much time he has left.  I bought two 3-way light bulbs that go in my table lamps.  I have discovered that if I don’t put 3-way bulbs in them they burn out about once a month, even though the bulb I’m putting in them is below the rated wattage of the highest of the three-way wattages.  I don’t know why that is.  If someone else does, let me know.  In the meantime I’ll just keep buying 3-way bulbs.

We went to Row House, an adorable small restaurant in South Lake Union, for a late lunch.  We sat on their deck in the shade, and it was so nice and cool there with the breeze blowing.

We also went out to a euro-trance club in Pioneer Square on Saturday night, but it was a little disappointing.  The music was great, but the club was almost empty.  Maybe we just went there on a slow night??  😦

It’s cooled down a lot this week so that now we’re in the mid-seventies instead of the high eighties.  (I know the high eighties doesn’t sound high to anyone compared to what every other part of the country has been experiencing, but since Mike and I live in apartments with a single window and no air conditioning, it feels a lot hotter in our apartments than it does outside.  But I’m still not complaining too much.  I recognize that most areas have had a much worse summer!)

Mike’s got a new track going, and that is sounding really good so far.  He’s also been bringing his camera around Seattle with him and snapping pictures.  He’s getting pretty good with it.  We’re going to Vancouver in a few weeks for his birthday, so that will definitely be a great chance for him to get some good pictures!

Hope everyone else is having a great week!  Wednesday’s almost over… two workdays till the weekend!  🙂



Filed under Birthdays, Cooking, Life in Seattle, Mike's Music

2 responses to “Shelling peas… an exercise in frustration

  1. Lia Kochenderfer

    Yikes—I wish I was a fly on the wall for that one! You never ate a veggie stir-fly before with snow peas? Yup, those are the flat ones…hehe.;)

    • I think I might have had stir-fries with snow peas once or twice… but definitely not often enough to consider them anything other than an exotic vegetable… not like something I would get from the CSA! 🙂

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