My Great Aunt Edie, a classy lady who never ceases to amaze me, once told me a story about a trip she and my Great Uncle Bud took to Maryland to attend the Butler Family Reunion. The most interesting part of the story included her description of the breakfast menu.
One morning, Aunt Edie, Uncle Bud, and the relatives with whom they were staying ate breakfast with close family friends. Their hosts served the usual breakfast fare, but my aunt was surprised to see pork chops, creamed peas, and bowls of other vegetables on the table. She mentioned this to my uncle.
He explained that the men had been up early and already completed a full day of work before she and my uncle woke up. After breakfast, the men would return to work, break for lunch, return to work again, and finally eat dinner well after dark when all the barn chores had been completed.
I recalled this story as I wrote the scene in which the family of John Welles celebrated his arrival with a huge breakfast. Although the birth of a new baby was exciting, it didn’t take precedence over the work that had to be done. Those not involved with bringing young John Welles into the world still had chores to complete.
Once my novel has been published, I’ll be interested to see if anyone comments on creamed peas for breakfast. Will readers find it odd or familiar? The following recipe is the one I had in mind as I wrote the celebration scene in my novel, The Secrets of Dr. John Welles.
2 cups of frozen peas
1 T butter
1 T flour
½ cup of whole milk
black pepper, I use a mixture of black, white, green, and pink peppercorns
1 t sugar, I use raw sugar
2 green onions (white and green portion), diced
Bring water to a boil in a three quart saucepan. Add the peas, reduce heat, and stir. Cook/defrost the peas for three to five minutes, until they begin to float. Drain the peas.
Melt the butter in the hot pan. Whisk in the flour until smooth, be sure to not burn the mixture. Add several grinds of cracked black pepper, salt to taste, and the sugar. Slowly pour in the milk and whisk over medium heat until thickened. Stir in the cooked, drained peas. Toss lightly and stir in the onions.