How do you eat your peas? Whole or soft? Parched or mushy? Black or green? Carlin or marrowfat? (We’re talking proper dried peas here, not those Johnny-come-lately immature fresh “garden pea” imposters*.)
Help us map the Great British Pea Line by completing our quick survey (here or below) to tell us how you like your peas and the place you think of as home.
As with so many aspects of Britain’s cultural identity, there’s a geographical divide in how we prefer to eat our peas – either mushy green marrowfats or parched whole black carlins (though the latter are often known by other names, including grey peas, black peas, maple peas or black badgers).
Mushy and parched peas are both surviving remnants of medieval and earlier British diets. Harvested in late summer, dried peas could be stored year-round and, with beans, were one of our main sources of protein. Peas and beans were eaten on a daily basis in dishes like pottage, the ancestor of today’s mushy and parched peas, and the cousin of the dhal, ful medames and refried beans eaten across the world.
In Britain our preferences follow not so much a simple north-south split but differ either side of the south-west to north-east Severn-Trent line. Preston, the Black Country and North Yorkshire are firmly in the carlin pea camp, while Nottingham, Norwich and Newton Abbot are resolute bastions of mushy marrowfats.
Can you help us map the Great British Pea Line? Just fill in the simple form below to tell us how you like your peas and the place you think of as home. We’ll announce the first results on 10th November, International Mushy Pea Day.
*We've got nothing against fresh garden peas or petits pois. As sweet and succulent fresh summer delicacies they're a seasonal (or frozen) treat. But as they're picked when the peas are immature they lack the more complex flavours and full nutritional benefits of the fully mature dried peas.
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