Lady Plumberton and her husband were on a voyage to the United States when she suffered an attack of nausea. Accordingly, she visited the ship’s physician who suggested that it was probably a mild attack of seasickness and gave her some tablets to soothe her stomach.
As she was leaving, she mentioned that she was rarely ill and suffered only from an allergy to green peas. It had been discovered when she was only a child, she told him, and she had often wished that God had given her a different allergy, since she loved the appearance and fragrance of lightly steamed peas.
The doctor, who had only a few years earlier finished medical school, told her that recent studies had confirmed that people sometimes outgrew such childhood allergies. Tests had been developed to detect allergic reactions safely, and he could test whether she was still allergic to peas in his office in less than half an hour.
She agreed and he called the chief cook who sent a steward with a small bowl of freshly steamed peas to the doctor’s office. Thirty minutes later, the doctor announced that the skin prick test showed no allergic reaction. Since the test sometimes missed a mild allergy, he suggested that she begin slowly with only a very small serving of green peas if she were so inclined.
After lunch she explained to the head waiter that she would appreciate having a small dish of steamed green peas with her dinner. He informed the chief cook who added the vegetable to Lady Plumberton’s dinner.
As usual the Plumberton’s were seated at the captain’s table. When all the diners were seated and the plates served, he rose from his chair to offer the evening’s toast. Instead of the usual toast honoring the leaders of Great Britain and the United States, he raised his glass of champagne and said, “Let us drink tonight to Lady Plumberton, who with the professional help of our ship’s doctor, is tonight taking her first pea in over fifty years.”
As the glasses were raised, a grizzled retired navy officer shouted, “Good God! Man the lifeboats! Women and children first!”
Only Lady Plumberton left the dining room. She retired to her cabin and developed a strong aversion to old men in navy uniforms.
Many green pea salad recipes call for using frozen or lightly steamed fresh green peas instead of canned peas. Perhaps this is because a lot of people have developed an aversion to canned peas. When I was a kid, we grew a lot of peas, picked a lot of peas, Mom canned a lot of peas and we all ate a lot of canned peas. I still really like them, especially in this delicious pea salad.
Jerri can’t remember when she first made this salad. My guess is that it was shortly after we were married and living in Charlottesville, Virginia. There was a Safeway store nearby that always had canned peas at low prices.
1 can green peas (about 2 cups)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
1/4 cup minced onion
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Drain the peas and put them in a mixing bowl. Boil the eggs for five minutes, turn off the heat and allow them to finish cooking in the hot water for eight or nine minutes. Then cool them in cold water and remove the shells. Chop the eggs to the same size dice as the peas.
While the eggs are cooking, clean the celery and chop it and the cheese into the same size dice as the eggs. Mince the onion. Put all the ingredients into the mixing bowl and stir them gently but thoroughly. Allow the salad to rest for five minutes, then stir again and taste.
Add a bit more mayonnaise if necessary or even a little salt.
NOTES: Jerri prefers fresh or frozen green peas cooked until barely tender except in her green pea salad where she loves the taste of canned peas. Even if you also prefer fresh or frozen peas, you really need to try this salad.
You can substitute finely chopped sweet or bread and butter pickles for the pickle relish.