FFWD – Cheating-on-Winter Pea Soup

Pea Soup. Olive drab in a pretty blue bowl.

A few years ago, the Vancouver Art Gallery exhibited a piece called Ought Apartment, which consisted of a stack of apartments reaching up through the centre of the building. Each apartment was decorated in the style of a particular decade, right down to the knickknacks and the contents of the drawers and cabinets. So many of the objects (and decorating schemes) resonated for me. The fifties apartment had the same sort of ceramic fish that my grandparents hung in their bathroom, there were some questionable young adult design choices in the eighties/nineties range, and so on up through to the millenium. It was the seventies apartment that fascinated me the most – it replicated the landscape (or carpetscape, anyway) of my childhood.

Why am I telling you all this in a post that’s supposed to be about pea soup? It’s all in the colour. The olive drab of the soup was a dead ringer for the avocado green of the kitchen appliances of my youth. The house that I grew up in had orange shag carpet in the living room, and olive green appliances in the kitchen. It may seem horrible now, but in the seventies it was de rigueur. Just as Ought Apartment had, this week’s soup carried me back.

What it didn’t do was carry me back to the taste of my mother’s pea soup, which is a solidly French Canadian split pea and ham bone affair. It’s delicious, but so was this soup, made with frozen green peas and romaine lettuce and relying on nothing more than salt, pepper, and softened onions for additional flavour. I couldn’t help myself – I added thyme and a clove of garlic to the onions, a minute or two before adding the vegetable stock. My vegetable stock was almost the colour of beef broth, I think because it has some tomato paste added to it, which might explain the colour of my soup. Others have reported their soups were a bright emerald green. No matter the colour, this soup does remind me of a summer soup, even though it’s also warming and rich enough for a cold spring evening. I’d like to take another run at this recipe when it’s truly summer, with fresh peas and mint. That might bring on another attack of memories, this time of shelling peas and shucking corn for family barbeques, but I’ll deal with it when it happens.

You can find many other blogged descriptions of this week’s FFWD recipe here: Cheating-on-Winter Pea Soup