Every spring we sow several rows of pea seed in our garden. One of my favorite things is shelling peas on the porch and then steaming them for supper. I just add a wee bit of butter and some salt and pepper before serving. Until I went to a Colonial Culinary Workshoprecently at Fort Boonesborough. Those early settlers ate high on the hog as we Appalachians like to say and this historic recipe is no exception! I even had seconds:)
The English Art of Cookery
by Richard Briggs, 1788
Take a quart of young peas, put them in a stew-pan, with a large Spanish onion, if you have one, or English ones chopped fine, and two cabbage or Silesia lettuces cut very small, with half a pint of water, seasoned with beaten mace, nutmeg, pepper and salt, cover them close, and let them stew gently for half an hour, then put in a quarter of a pound of butter mixed with half a spoonful of flour, a spoonful of ketchup,* cover them close, and let them simmer half an hour, then dish them up.
*Ketchup was not the same then as now. Back then it was mushroom-based, more like Worcestershire. Tomatoes were even regarded as poisonous at that time. Here’s the product used in the workshop: