Saturday, January 21, 2012


The cook shop also sold... in the summer peasecods, fresh peas boiled in their pods which you ate like artichoke leaves, dragging the peas away from the pod, but first dipping them into melted butter with added salt, pepper and vinegar. (This was called 'scaldings of peas', still being sold in exactly the same way in the 1850s.)
British Food - An Extraordinary Thousand Years of History [p.61], Colin Spencer, 2002

What we've got here is 12th century fast food.

The cook shops operated around the Thames as early as 1190, and probably earlier. There was also various meat dishes, including savory pies, but the peasecods have caught my interest because they seem pretty easy to make, and tasty to eat.  As soon as I can get my hands on some peas in the pods, I'll try this out. I may have to wait until summer; I've never seen frozen peasecods a la edamame.

I don't know that these were really quite as long lived as Spencer says. Henry Mayhew doesn't agree that they were still being sold this way in 1851. Emphasis mine.
The sale of hot green peas in the strees is of great antiquity... In many parts of the country it is, or was, customary to have "scaldings of peas," often held as a sort of rustic feast. The peas were not shelled, but boiled in the pod, and eaten by the bod being dipped in melted butter, with a little pepper, salt, and vinegar, and then drawn through the teeth to extract the peas, the pod being thrown away... None of the street-sellers, however, whom I saw, remembered the peas being vended in any other form than shelled and boiled as at present.
London Labour and the London Poor: a Cyclopaedia of the Condition and Earnings of Those That Will Work, Those That Cannot Work, and Those That Will Not Work. Volume 1 [p.180] Henry Mayhew, 1851

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