I have come to the conclusion that the invention of frozen peas will forever stand as the last great testament to the genius of man and the generosity of our Creator.
Mrs. Woody was reading today in a magazine - one of those hordes of magazines that deal with Holiday Magic in Your Home in Only Twenty Simple Steps - and found a tip about how to cool a bowl of soup for a child. (Incidentally, do these magazines ever print anything besides tips? Do they ever print honest-to-john articles? I didn't think so, either.) This tip was submitted by a woman who didn't have any ice available to cool the soup. Any parent who has faced this crisis knows what's at stake: Not necessarily the freedom of the western world, but certainly the sanity of the Mommy. What to do? This woman found a bag of frozen peas in her freezer and scooped some into the child's bowl. The soup was cooled sufficiently to be eaten by the child, the peas were thawed to the point of edibility, and the child (presumably) was happy.
Frozen peas: Miracle Vegetable of the 21st Century.
Of course, one cannot base one's thesis entirely on a single datum. I have observed this frigid legume at great length and undertaken several controlled experiments.
Exhibit A is my wife. Mrs. Woody, bless her heart, suffers from arthritis. Her knees are a source of nearly constant discomfort, worse some days than others. On those days when she feels that throbbing, we apply a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a dish towel to the affected area. We always have two bags of "therapeutic" peas available so we can trade off. Or, if both knees hurt, one for each leg. We find that frozen peas tend to stay cold longer than just about every cold pack we've ever tried, so we've been thrilled to employ them. At $1.79 a bag, we're not too worried about busting our budget, either.
Exhibit B is just about any casserole cookbook. Doesn't matter whether it's baked in an oven, or cooked in a crock pot, frozen peas figure heavily in quite a lot of our favorite recipes.
Of course, given both exhibits, you might well ask how we keep "therapeutic" peas from getting confused with "edible" peas. Quite simply, we buy the cheapest peas we can find for therapy. If we're gonna eat 'em, I don't mind paying for 'em.
Through all this, however, I must make a confession: I didn't arrive at Exhibit A all by myself. I had help.
Several years ago, one of my in-laws (you know who you are!) went through a medical procedure that instantly makes guys wince at its very name. In short, this procedure makes guys somewhat less lethal during critical times of a gal's, um, monthly inconvenience, if you catch my drift. At any rate, he raved about the healing power of frozen peas and how much they facilitated his recovery.
When the time came for us to make that most difficult of decisions (Mrs. Woody being somewhat loathe to ask the sacrifice of me) we remembered our in-law's experience and decided to put Woody out to pasture, so to speak.
I won't describe the procedure itself in case any of you gentlemen out there may be considering it yourselves. I will only use a code word to help you understand the experience in as sensitive a manner possible:
Needless to say, the living room couch and I became quite well acquainted immediately following my experience. Mrs. Woody kept a steady supply of frozen peas at the ready, and my nether-regions were kept at a steady 30 degrees Farenheit (or so it felt) for about three days. To say my first day back to work was an adventure in endurance would be an understatement, but the peas had worked their magic. I was at least able to sit upright for my entire shift, although the couch and I got reacquainted immediately upon my return home. Still, about a week after the procedure, you would never have known I'd been through it. I sure as heck would, but I've never regretted doing it.
Frozen peas. Unsung heros of the vegetable kingdom. We need some sort of National Frozen Peas Day declared by the President, and I urge all three of my readers to immediately contact their congressperson and waste their time for the cause.