My first memory of peas is that they're easy -- easy to roll down the back of your throat without chewing. Easy to roll under the table unnoticed. Easy to hide in the small pockets of your first big girl jeans. Easy to hide under your tongue, behind your molars and in your ear if need be. Easy to get past my well-meaning parents.
Peas and me don't get along. They're like minuscule amounts of sour mashed potatoes wrapped in a sickly paper shell. Their texture is bitter, dry and pasty, their color "I feel sick or possessed by evil spirits" green.
Short of profiting from peas, I can't see why anyone would buy them on purpose. Yet, they're everywhere. Puzzling, really, how a tiny veggie could warrant a dominant presence at so many family dinners.
Italian restaurants toss them into penne vodka without mention. Innocent mozzarella-filled rice balls have peas hidden between bits of grains, sleeping under a blanket of cheese. Luscious pasta salad has the little green pellets tucked under bow-ties, swimming in what should be creamy goodness. I've even found peas folded into crab cakes, bobbing about in chicken soup and sitting in a bowl, as if they could pass themselves off as chips or nuts.
It's obvious the pea lobby is hard at work because now those little green balls have invaded guacamole of all things and the world is not taking it lightly. It started with a recipe in the New York Times politely suggesting the "completely obvious" addition of peas in guacamole. That set off a social media frenzy, crying such a thing as food heresy. President Obama and Jeb Bush even weighed in on Twitter, both agreeing peas have no business rolling around in guacamole.
Does guacamole have a higher status on the side dish food chain? Or do people not realize that peas have been quietly infiltrating all of our meals for years? Whatever the reason, I'm glad there's some backlash against those sneaky little peas. Sometimes dishes are left best just as they are, and no dish anywhere will be improved with the likes of a pea.
Who knew the world would come together -- even Obama and a Bush -- over peas and guacamole? Food really does unite.