Pea soup

On a recent visit to see three grandsons, and their parents of course, the usual pre-dinner festivities were held.  A bottle of merlot and swinging the kids in their playscape consumed the time before dinner.  My daughter was off taking graduate classes, while my son-in-law took charge of the cooking.  He is of Italian descent, with roots deep in Sicily.  A thoroughly committed family man, he is also an accomplished cook.  He said nothing at all about exactly what was for dinner, beyond the usual bread and salad, a requirement of all complete Italian dinners.  It was best that he retain some of the details about the dinner, so he did.

After a thorough swinging of the kids, we were all called in for dinner.  The main course was a special, healthy, hot, pea soup in a bullion broth with onions, a few green beans, and a flavorful blend of spices.  It was not only healthy, but required second helpings all around the table.  The soup was particularly rich with fresh peas, and with each spoonful of soup, at least half the spoon was peas.  We complimented our Italian chef appropriately before moving on to the salad for dessert.

After dinner we played with the kids again till they turned into pumpkins.  Then we returned home, about an hour’s drive away.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

On the way home, grandma and I discussed her surgery, which was scheduled for the following week.  It was to be an outpatient excision of a hemorrhoid tab, believed to be small enough to require only a few stitches, then a meticulous period of home-based convalescence for several days.   She discussed the pain-relieving process that the surgical nurse had used most successfully for her own similar procedure.  As a hemorrhoid is in a super sensitive area, the use of ice as a pain suppressant was suggested.  Using a plastic glove, one could fill one or more of the fingers with crushed ice, then place these fingers along the site of the excision and stitches.  In plain English, this is within the butt-crack.  Of course, the fingers would need to be renewed with fresh ice on a regular basis, and re-applied to maintain a reasonable degree of comfort.  After several days of use, the pain should subside, and the glove and ice technique could be discontinued.

While this procedure sounds somewhat unsavory, it appears to work particularly well with hemorrhoid tabs.  Then grandma mentioned that she had heard of an alternate technique, which was superior to the glove and ice process.  It involved the use of bags of frozen vegetables.  The advantage was the increased volume, which would retain cold longer, and could also be form fitted to the specific anatomy needing cooling.  I was a little startled by this unusual, and certainly novel use of edibles for such therapy.  She added that one could have several bags on hand, and eliminate the need to continually refill the glove fingers with crushed ice.  She said we needed to stop by the supermarket to get several plastic bags of frozen peas.

Then, almost as an afterthought, she said that our Italian son-in-law had tested the technique, and reported that it had worked perfectly.  It seems he had recently undergone a vasectomy, and found it necessary to use the technique for three days, before the pain subsided.  It worked fine, he said.

Then it occurred to me that we had just finished a delicious Italian dinner, featuring pea soup.

“Don’t tell me, grandma.  You learned about the frozen pea technique from our son-in-law.  Is that right?”  I asked.

“Yes, that’s right,” she said.

“Now don’t tell me that these peas we ate this evening were the same peas that he used for several days of therapy,” I said.

“He thought it was probably best not to mention the history of the peas we used in the soup this evening,” she said.

After a moment’s hesitation, she added, “He said to tell you not to worry, because he was wearing a jock strap all three of those days.”

Then she handed me his recipe for the soup:

Benjamin’s Special Pea Soup

To three cups of water, add

Several chicken bullion cubes

Celery salt

Sea salt

Black pepper

Paul Prudhomme Cajun seasoning

One-fourth cup of diced onions

One-half package of French cut frozen green beans

One package of re-frozen, early spring, “scrotum” peas.

Serve piping hot, and don’t mention the “scrotum” peas until you are half-way home.   Waste not, want not.

Those Italians are a piece of work.

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