Marcel Proust had his madeleine crumbled in hot tea. Yesterday I had a moment too, because the supermarket had peas, actual peas in their pods. I brought a bag home, though it was lighter when I arrived because I sneaked a few while waiting for my train.
Peas in their pods transport me to summer Sundays in my grandfather’s garden. My grandad was a legendary grower of vegetables. His crops were improved, I’m sure, by the bags of horse poo he brought home after visiting our country cousins. What the other passengers on the bus thought about that, heaven knows.
You name it, he grew it, and also cooked it. My grandmother, whose idea of a meal was a Park Drive and a glass of Guinness, wasn’t allowed anywhere near the kitchen. So on Sunday mornings after church I was allowed to ‘help’ him. We’d sit on the grass and shell peas and quite a lot ended up in my mouth instead of the colander.
The pods went on the compost heap. When I lived in Italy I learned what a criminal waste that was. Italian cooks turn the pods into soup or into stock for a pea risotto. Yesterday mine went in the bin. I’m not in the mood for soup and a risotto for one is a sad thing. But I had my pea pod moment. Fleetingly I was back in a sunny English garden with my grandad and his dog Pig. It was around 1956 and all was well with the world.