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Thursday, February 25, 2016


The English peas on the grocer’s shelf may have gone unnoticed if a few days earlier I hadn’t viewed one of the opening scenes from “Murder by Decree (1979), where Dr. John Watson (played by James Mason) was annoying Holmes (Christopher Plummer) by making an awful racket trying to stab with a fork the last pea on the good doctor’s dinner plate.

The fresh shelled English peas that I noticed on the Costco shelf were from New World Farms, but not from the prime pea growing shires of the UK’s east coast.  These particular peas were from fincas near Aniqua, Guatemala.

According to the marketing literature on the package, the shelled English peas are grown in volcanic soil at higher altitudes than East Anglica.  These Central American peas yield 1,300 per pound.

Using the family recipe from nearby Hickman, Nebraska, the main ingredients are chopped chicken breasts, chicken, penne pasta, celery and of course plenty of peas.  It was the perfect cold weather stir-fry dinner for a 60-degree evening in San Diego, where the last bit of sunlight shone through the palm tree.

Kudos to James Mason for this delightful and most likely improvised film scene.  Suggest you skip the rest of the flick and go find the nearest store carrying shelled English peas.

Sue Sanderson (employed by the UK’s growing concern that was founded in in 1855: Thompson & Morgan), has written a tasty opus on pea growing.  

And, if you go to her website there’s even a video:

You’re welcome.

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