I Eat My Peas With Honey…

July 7, 2008, by Christie Healey

photo courtesy Library of Congress

I Eat My Peas with Honey… good truth opportunity or bad idea?

I sort lots of stuff out in my head when cooking. This simple multitasking is not without the dangers of distraction. To quote a friend, “Who knew beef was so flammable?” Recently mashing potatoes started me thinking about those times when an opportunity act in truth appears more like an unwanted dilemma: Perfect shoes—in your size for a change—appear on the credit card radar just as you calculated your unsecured debt. Or an invite to join a new friend at yoga class and wanting to go, but do you really want this person to see you in need of medical assistance halfway through downward-facing dog?

If I buy the shoes and increase my debt, I am being dishonest with myself. If I make up some excuse for not attending the yoga class, I am being dishonest with another. Nothing serious you might say, but when to apply honesty seems to be a delicate issue. We all experience times when telling the truth is not the first thing that comes to mind; such as the response to an earnestly written screenplay or the deadly questions that start with “What do you think of my new…?”

My mother used to cook a roast beef for lunch on Sundays. Dad loved roast beef, it was his favorite. Mum always bought the most expensive cut and then cooked it to the color and consistency of old gray blotting paper. One Sunday I asked Mum why she overcooked the beef. “It’s the way your Dad likes it, and he is entitled to have what he likes,” she firmly responded. Later I went down the garden to where Dad was digging and planting, to tell him lunch was ready. I could not resist asking him why he liked to eat such overcooked meat. “It’s the only way your Mother knows how to cook it and I am not going to hurt her feelings and neither are you,” he firmly responded.

As I recovered from the usual Sunday lunch indigestion I pondered the honesty opportunity dilemma. Dad was back in the garden digging, straightening up occasionally to let out a burp or two. We are grateful to those who love us for the kindness of their occasional dishonesty, and the reasons why.

Here’s the complete verse the title is taken from:

I eat my peas with honey,
I’ve done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny,
But it keeps them on my knife.

Please don’t tell anyone they can’t eat their peas this way.

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4 Responses to “I Eat My Peas With Honey…”

  1. Fibbin' Foodie Says:

    I have found ways of avoiding being impolite while masking a bit of untruth and those ways have served me and those I don’t want to hurt very well, I think. But when it comes to food, compassion is a more difficult thing! Between my peculiar eating habits and a disdain for poorly cooked food, I don’t know if I could do it. Your father must have really loved your mother to stomach such a situation. And the family made some sort of sacrifice too. It begs the question, is harmony worth the price of indigestion? Hmmm. Quite complex.

  2. Connie Says:

    I once made a spicy meal for friends called “Angry Chicken” and miscalculated the amount of jalapenos the recipe called for. That lovely couple choked and wept their way through the meal swearing up and down how much they liked spicy food. We all laughed so hard that night. I now call that recipe “Angry Chicken’s Revenge”. I don’t make it anymore, but we love recalling that night in our blossoming friendship. It told me a lot about their generosity and kindness and sense of humor. Peas? Don’t really care for them. Honey? Good in tea. But if you made me Peas n’ Honey, honey, I’ll bet they’d be delicious. Love you.

  3. cfinhollywood Says:

    I usually say I like it if I can eat it. The exception happened recently when my mother-in-law spent all day making us a meal, which included a yogurt/cucumber side dish. Unfortunately, at some point, all the fresh, thinly sliced cucumber fell out of the bowl and onto the floor, which was rife with dog hair. She spent a good part of an hour rinsing the cucumber, but every bite of her dish was filled with very, very long dog hairs. I couldn’t stomach it. While everyone ate it and make jokes about how great dog hair tastes, I casually left it to the side of my plate and pretended to take bites. I just couldn’t do it!

  4. dearpru Says:

    When people say, “To tell the truth…” don’t you wonder if they’ve been lying to you about everything else?

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