As Michelle mentioned in her post Time Capsule Garden, we have some cans of survival food from the previous owners of our homestead. While Michelle is out of town, Aly and I are cooking meals she doesn’t care for. That includes split pea soup. Ours is made chiefly from our Rainy Day Foods supply, using canned split peas and dried carrots that may be as much as 30 years old.
Split pea soup is an important tradition on my side of the family. Mom used to make it with a pepperoni stick cut up for flavor; Grandpa Zeiger proudly shared his secret with me: fennel seeds. Both of these beloved family members have passed. Every spoonful of split pea soup reminds me of them.
Unfortunately, Michelle doesn’t care for it, so when the cats away, as they say, the mice will cook large pots of split pea soup. As luck would have it, we happen to have the trimmings from a big shank of ham that we’ve been working on for a while, that will work well in this project!
As usual, our “recipe” is a haphazard affair, more instinct than following directions. I thought about writing it down, but so much of it was special case activity because of the old peas that it wouldn’t help the general public much. Mostly, we soaked and boiled the heck out of the peas, added half a large onion, a couple stalks of celery, marjoram, pepper, bruised fennel seeds, and, a half hour before serving, chicken broth and ham. Those were added at the last minute because of the salt content. Salt and acidic ingredients such as tomatoes (not used in this case) can stop legumes from cooking further, leaving them hard.
Our soup isn’t the creamy split pea soup I love so much. The emergency pack peas are simply too old. They softened up, but never “mushed,” so they still needed to be chewed a bit. Nevertheless, it tastes great! We’d never feed it to company, but we liked it just fine, for the 3 meals it lasted.
Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold, pease porridge in the pot, 10,950 days old . . . .