The Pea (Fr.: Pois).—The native country of the pea is unknown, but it is supposed to be indigenous to South-Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It was well known to the Romans, and has been cultivated from remote antiquity. The pea, a leguminous plant of the genus Pisum, has many varieties, including the garden pea and the field pea. When soft and juicy in the pods, peas are used for the table under the designation of "green peas." When hardened, peas become farinaceous, and a whitish and a blue variety which splits readily when subjected to the action of mill-stones specially constructed for that purpose is used largely for soups. There are some varieties of peas which have no inner filmy lining in their pods, known as "sugar-peas." The pods of these when young are frequently eaten cooked in a similar manner to kidney-beans. By the Hindus peas parched and ground and mixed with flour form an important article of diet. The pea is rich in nitrogenous matter, containing legumin or vegetable casein, and is therefore useful as a flesh-forming food. The following are the constituents of peas in 100 parts:— Water, 15.6; proteids, 22.0; fats, 2.0; carbo-hydrates, 58.0, salts, 2.4.
128.—POTATO SOUP. (Fr.—Purée de Pommes de Terre.)
Ingredients.—1 quart of white second stock, or water, ½ a pint of milk, 1 lb. of potatoes, 1 onion, 1 strip of celery, 1 oz. of butter, 1 tablespoonful of fine sago, or crushed tapioca, salt and pepper.
Method.—Slice the potatoes, onion, and celery. Make the butter hot in a stewpan, add the vegetables, fry and cook until the butter is absorbed, stirring frequently to prevent them browning. Add the stock, and simmer until the vegetables are tender (about 1 hour). Rub through a fine sieve; return to the saucepan, add the milk and bring to the boil. Sprinkle in the sago, cook until transparent, add seasoning to taste, and serve.
Time.—About 1½ hours. Average Cost, 9d. to 1s. Seasonable at any time. Sufficient for 4 or 5 persons.
The Potato (Fr.: Pomme de terre).—Next to the cereals, the potato constitutes one of the most important articles of vegetable food. It belongs to the natural order Solanaceæ, which includes the nightshade, henbane, and tobacco, and is a native of the region of the Andes of South America, where it grows wild; but in the uncultivated state its tubers are watery and tasteless. It was first introduced into Europe in the early part of the sixteenth century by the Spaniards, and in England by the Elizabethan adventurers, Sir John Hawkins, Sir Francis Drake, and Sir Walter Raleigh. It was grown on the estate of the last-named at Youghal, near Cork, and eaten as a food prior to its use in England. The potato is rich in starch, of which it contains about 15 per cent., and combined with wheaten flour makes excellent farinaceous foods. A strong coarse spirit, "British brandy," is obtained from the potato by distillation. The skin of the potato contains "Solanine," a poisonous substance, which is dissipated by boiling or steaming. Not being rich in flesh-forming constituents, the potato is best used as an adjunct to meat or nitrogenous foods. The potato contains in 100 parts:—Water, 74.0: proteids, 2.0; fats, 0.20; carbo-hydrates. 21.8; salts, 1.0.
129.—PURÉE OF ASPARAGUS. (Fr.—Purée d'Asperges.)
Ingredients.—2 pints of white second stock or water, 1 pint of milk, 50 heads of asparagus, 1 Spanish onion, 1 strip of celery, a bouquet-garni (parsley, thyme, bay-leaf), 1½ ozs. of butter, 1 dessertspoonful of cornflour or flour, the yolks of 2 eggs, 2 tablespoonfuls of cream, pepper and salt.