Monday, September 12, 2011

Life This Week: September 12, 1938 and Easy Peasy Soup

Easy Peasy Soup
Easy Peasy Soup, Maslin Bread and Chardonnay

Easy Peasy Soup (really Split Pea Soup) works as a companion to a 1938 issue of Life magazine, because it's a soup that has really fallen out of favor in the last seventy or so years. The only time I've ever seen Split Pea Soup on a menu is at the restaurant at the Golden Gate Hotel in Las Vegas. It's probably because it doesn't look that great. However--it tastes fabulous, it's a doddle to make and it's cheap. If you made my Irish Boiled Ham and saved the stock (you should always save the stock!), the hardest part is over. All that's left is soaking the peas and then throwing the soaked peas and the ham stock into a pot and cooking. That's really it.

Easy Peasy Soup

1 lb split peas (about 2 cups)
3 quarts homemade ham stock
sea salt, if needed
freshly-ground black pepper
chopped parsley, to garnish

First off, you need to soak the peas for about three days, draining them and changing the water twice a day. This not only softens the peas, but “pre-digests” them.

After the peas have been soaked, drain them once more and rinse them off. Put them in a stockpot and add the ham stock. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for four hours. Be sure to put a lid on the pan, because you want the peas to break down, but you don’t want the stock to evaporate.

Before serving, check to make sure your soup is salty enough (this will depend on your ham stock). If not, add sea salt to taste. Add pepper to taste. You’ll want to whisk vigorously (or even immersion blend) to keep soup from separating. Divide soup into bowls and serve with the parsley on top.

Soup can be refrigerated or frozen (for up to a year), just hold off on the parsley.

Yields eight 1 1/2-cup servings

Adapted from “Split Pea Soup” in Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book, 1950.


View recipe at Scribd

What's this about soaking peas? This recipe uses sinfully cheap split peas, which you'll find on the rice and beans aisle of your grocery store by the dried beans or maybe in the bulk section. The package says to soak them overnight, but it's really better to soak them for about three days or so. Put them in a large bowl, cover them with cold water and let them sit out on the counter. Drain them and change the water twice a day. This actually pre-digests the peas--meaning the peas pass their own gas. Yup, it's gross but quite amazing. It works with dried beans, as well. And it works fabulously.

Soaking split peas
If you'd like to know what was going on this week in 1938, be sure to head over to Google Books to read the September 12th issue of Life. Here are items I found interesting:

Current Events
In Midst of War Games Hitler Plays Politics with Hungary
White Supremacy Helps Beat the Purge in SC
Mrs. America 1938
John Roosevelt Starts Work at Filene's
Hungary: The Kingless Kingdom, Wooed by Germany, Clamors for Lost Lands

Styl-eez Shoe Ad
Herald of Fashion Ad
Dalmatians at Deauville

Polaroid: This New Wonder Makes Light Behave

Art and Photography
English Landscape Paintings in America
England is an Old and Beautiful Land

How to do the Lambeth Walk (listen on YouTube)


  1. I love pea soup! When it cools down, I start to crave pea and bean soups. Also love the fashion ads you linked to. The SC white supremacy article was super-creepy.

  2. Snap I made split peas soup too, but I used yellow ones, rather than green ones.
    Adore the green photograph though :)

  3. Love that figurine in the photo! I don't know...I think you need to fix me your Easy Peasy soup and then we'll see!

  4. I love the sound of this soup - the fact that it's easy peasy makes it a winner.

  5. Great hint about soaking the beans for 3 days!! I have a ham bone in the freezer waiting for the weather to break...hubby would love a batch of your pea soup :)

  6. Not a big split pea soup fan but this post has inspired me to revisit it and I feel sorry for anyone who does not know how to do the Lambeth Walk.

  7. What a wonderful warming soup. Soups are some of my favorite dishes to cook. I see you lived in Kansas. We lived in Kansas City for 3 years and just loved it there. I feel the same way about ads. I can't focus on a blog when the ads are looks so cluttered. Good luck to you!

  8. Split pea soup is one of my husband's favorites, and since I'm looking out at a cloudy sky soup is sounding good. I usually only soak beans overnight...I'll try your tip for a longer soaking.

  9. Just catching up on your blog (TONS of work - wow) after our crazy past couple of weeks. I've never heard about the 3-day twice rinse/soaking tip. Will use that one soon! Hope things are well.

  10. I did not know about the benefits of soaking for extra days. I'm sold!

  11. Totally thought this was some sort of st Patricks day post with all the green :) I LOVE pea soup. It's so good cold or warm.... Yum. I usually leave out the meat though because I prefer less meat in my diet. Never knew about soaking for THREE days! Wow, great info.


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