Thursday, August 9, 2012

Shelling Peas, and a Case for More Inconvenient Food

Sometimes having kids help in the kitchen is very stressful to me.  I'm the world's least confident cook anyway, and having little ones there with me while trying to follow a recipe, trying not to burn the house down, trying not get hurt, trying not to have them get hurt, trying to make something edible, trying not to make a total mess ... well, it doesn't make for great teaching moments.

But shelling peas with the kids was the most relaxing cooking task ever.  I totally get the nostalgic image of sitting on porches with your grandmother shelling peas. 

It also gave me another reason to appreciate fresh, whole, unprocessed food.  Peas are something we always buy frozen - already shelled, already ready to go. 

It's convenient, and it's nice.  But in this case the prep work hardly seemed like work at all.  It felt more like play, except instead of using something plastic or pre-made it was plucking peas out of their shells early one afternoon with my kids.  They practiced picking up the small peas, we figured out the best way to get them out, observed how really well they could roll, pointed out how the shells looked like boats, counted how many peas were in a pod. We put the peas in a little bowl for later, when we could cook them, and then it was nap time.

Fresh peas aren't in season for very long, but it did make me appreciate that the inconvenience of food can actually an opportunity for play. 

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