The Great Pea Controversy: Mushy or Snappy?


[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

There's a very serious pea debate happening right now. Actually, it's been going on since, mmm, the beginning of time? Peas. The little green pebbles that roll around all over the plate, making your utensil go on a wild chase. (Yeah, the rolly part doesn't change whether mushy or snappy.) If you don't like them turning into army green moosh, you know to just barely blanch them, so they get warm but still maintain their snap.

But then you have people like Francis Lam, food editor of, leading the Mushy Pea movement. He points out that peas, by nature, are beans, which means we should cook them like beans "until they soften again and show off their creamy, complexly, maturely sweet selves" (actually, he more efficiently described this as "a long-assed time").

He writes about his stance on peas on today, and spoke about it earlier in the day on the Spilled Milk podcast.

He argues that you should beat them into submission, cooking them—like you would dry beans—until the innards become creamy and delicious, and reach a richer sweetness. They don't need to become gross-mushy a la canned peas, but they shouldn't be rock-hard beads. For guidance, here's a Jamie Oliver recipe for mushy peas.

One of Lam's readers, clearly part of Team Mushy Pea, even shared a fantasy.

I wish peas were about 100 times larger so you could simply cut them in half, and dip a spoon into them like eating a bowl of yogurt.

Whoa, that's pretty extreme as far as pea stances go. So, what type of pea eater are you? Do you like them soft and creamy? Or raw/raw-like, and still popping in your mouth?

Also, we haven't even touched on the whole issue of eating frozen peas, still in their frozen state. (Does anybody else do that?) That might need to be a third category of pea. Mushy, snappy, and just frozen.

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