Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mind your peas

Food memories are precious to me. My mother loved peas, so in the springtime, she brought large paper bags full of pea pods, and we sat together on the front stoop shelling peas-- that delicious tactile experience of popping open the pod, unzipping its full length, and tipping the plump green peas into a bowl.

In the summertime we shucked corn together, a much messier and more tedious occupation, where we sat on either side of the large bag where all the husks and silks went, picking the illusive strands out from between the kernels. I'm not sure, but I think she loved Silver Queen the best, a tasty pure white corn. The fact that it wasn't always as good as it could be made the times it was ideal extra special. Corn, peaches and pears are all risky-- they can be so delicious, so perfectly plump and juicy that you can't get your eyes open for savoring each bite-- or so mealy, you want to spit them out. Worth the gamble for the possibility of perfect pleasure.

Slow food is a new term, but that's how I learned things. Peeling, shucking, simmering, stirring, smelling, tasting... and all those memories are there for me now that my mother is gone. The spring brings the peas and the anniversary of her passing. It will possibly never get any easier? But I buy the peas, shell the peas, and remember those companionable times with my strong, beautiful, energetic mother.