Friday, 2 July 2010

Give Peas a chance

The nut bowl. A paddling pool of sweat, salty residue, fecal matter and coli forms.
Like any greedy oik worth his salty fingers, I love a good nut. I tend to veer towards the safety of a dry roasted myself. If that nut was to personify anybody, for me it would be the boss himself. Mr Bruce Springsteen. Musky, a faint hint of nicotine, rock and roll, edgy, the last to leave a party. Yes, this peanut knows how to have itself a good time.

Halcyon memories of many a Christmas day spent on the floor of my Grandma’s house with my brother searching for stray dry roasters that have escaped their Pyrex prison.
An antipodean friend of mine who for the nomenclature of this tale goes by the prefix “Aussie” Ben is the reason behind today’s posting.

Now first of all, I have to assess the reasoning behind men who are given a title to bolster their name. I guarantee that everyone somewhere along the road has been friends with or indeed met a “Scouse John” or a “Big Mike” it just goes with the territory of friendship circles.
You see, Aussie Ben is a man of many mysteries. He tells me that in his previous life, he has worked as a lorry driver, cocktail maker, run his own restaurant and been a Cowboy.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I cannot even contemplate how you begin to prepare your CV for a Cowboy job.
He had no lassoo, no bison, and no chewing tobacco like I had seen in Calamity Jane. Ergo, a pretty rubbish Cowboy by my standards.

A well travelled fellow. Aussie Ben takes great delight in freaking out our very parochial school children with bushtucker trial-esque food. Thus far, the kiddies have encountered Zebra, cuttlefish, Ostrich and god forbid, vegemite.
It was the brightly neon coloured tin that caught my eye.
Mr Oz brought in a delectable snack which would have had Mr Dry Roasted putting an extra 40kg on the bench press.

Wasabi Peas.

A vivaciously lurid snotty green colour which would fit in well with #B2E “Inchworm” in a Crayola colour comparison chart. A slightly bulbous appearance. A Marrowfat on Creatine if you will.
He claimed 3 was too hot to eat.

I don’t think that this guy knows quite who is dealing with here.

I raise your 3 to 7.

Four handfuls later of the stuff and I began to feel the effects. The Wasabi.
Wasabi, also known as Japanese Horseradish is much more fragrant than our creamy variety we layer on our sandwiches and provides an aftertaste similar to leaving Listerine in your mouth for too long.

I have only in the last couple of years got to know and enjoy the taste of Wasabi through visiting Thailand and Singapore where it is eaten at all times of the day. A delicious snack which compliments the sharpness of the Wasabi, is to slice up a ripe Avocado and dip into Wasabi. It is also delicious liberally spooned into mash and served with a mild white fish.

A member of the Brassica family, making it a cousin to the Cabbage and Mustard plant. I would imagine in your classic Brassica brawl, the Wasabi would lay down serious uppercuts and probably end up getting expelled from school at some point.

It can be sold as a powder, or ready to use paste, usually in the shape of a toothpaste. I do not condone such childish behaviour, however, purely for schoolboy giggles, the perplexity of an unsuspecting early morning wake up call of Wasabi-on toothbrush would be of much amusement to me.

Back in the classroom, the Year 9s were gazing at the A-H of edible obscurities that awaited them.
Lychees bobbing playfully were falsely accused of being eyeballs or pickled onions. Vegemite (the Aussie Marmite) was identified as tar, nutella and poo. The latter, being a decent call for me.
Fruit is standard for inducing a melancholy tone to children who feel that Toffee Apples, Oasis drink and those strips of Yoghurt they squelch down their throats are actually classed as their five a day.

I was mightily impressed that a few could spot Mango in a crowd.
Apparently, Mum has it on weight watchers and it is like only 1 point.

It was the plate of fat Neon bogey-peas that provoked the most laughs that I have had in a long time.
Some of the connoisseurs compared it to Bombay Mix, Chilli Powder, Curries. Cue a heap of exaggerated coughing and choking fits. At least I hope they are exaggerated as I am almost crying with laughter.

No one classified them from the Pea Province.
Again. Vegetable. Risky Terrain.

The reveal was a little bit like when Cilla Black used to bring over someone’s long lost Aunt that no one had seen or heard of for 17 years over from New Zealand on “Surprise Surprise”. The children were vacant, bemused and all together not too bothered about what they were.
Wasabi was a word that certainly no one had ever heard of.
Just as we were packing away, two boys were taking full advantage of the free food and utilising all the left overs when one of them turned to me and asked.

“Miss, have you got anymore of them Washable Peas?”

Who says you cannot impart knowledge.

Having just returned from a trip to our great capital, I spent the best part of the day in China town scouring the many supermarkets festooning the streets. Wasabi Peas are to the children and adults of China what Walkers crisps are to us.
The shelves were piled high with the stuff. Ridiculously cheap too, only £1.85 for a standard tin against the high street norm of £3.
Having always bordered on the side of being a sweet lover, I have been surprised by my affinity to our Brassica buddies. Less hydrogenated and Saturated Fat than crisps (a free snack on weight watchers!! Hell I may even just rejoin) I have found a guilt free snack with and with it's shadowy name, it certainly puts people off from wanting too many. Maybe washable would be a good idea?

Like John and Yoko said. Give Peas a chance.

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