I bought a bag of green split peas last week at one of my favorite Middle Eastern markets. Split pea soup has been on my mind, and I was aching to make a batch at home. I usually follow the Joy of Cooking recipe, which includes carrots, celery, stock, and some ham hocks.
Step one was to soak the split peas. I rinsed out a glass bowl and poured the peas in. Then turned on water and watched the bowl fill. Here came my ew, WTF moment. There were 12 or more bugs swimming around in the water. They were really moving. I turned off the water and muttered. Followed by sighs. The bag cost only $1.19 and would've made for three, maybe four meals. But no go. I had to drain the water back in the sink, and dump the bugs and peas in the trash.
I thought Safeway would be a safe option today. The bag I picked had peas that looked somehow brighter and greener. There were definitely no dust or bug elements to the naked eye. The clerk eyed my ham hocks (2 1/2 pounds, baby!) and asked what was I going to make. I told her the story of the bugs, complete with shrugs and cringes on my part. She looked concerned. "Well, bugs. They do happen. You have to watch out for holes. Lemme see. Are there holes in this bag?" We both started looking, and she added, "Two sets of eyes are better than one," and wouldn't you know, we found some tiny tears. "See? That's where they get in," she said.
"OK, I'll run and grab a better batch," I said. I almost started laughing as I pawed my way through almost fifteen bags of split peas. They all had at least one or two holes. Ugh. My visions of a soupy afternoon were crushed.
"Yeah, cancel the soup. No carrots. No ham hocks," I said. I knew I could make a white bean or other soup but it wouldn't be the same. I've built this soup up to be the best damn tastiest thing ever. Nothing can compete.
I was glad I had a bakery chocolate chip cookie and milk to cheer me up on my way home. It's 6:18 p.m. and I am still in denial that I have to come up with something else for dinner.