Always found that the term Great Depression was somewhat of an oxymoron. It’s kind of like a really long, really awful Wonderful Hangover.
Oddly we have had several people arrive at the site after searching for food from this era in recent days and, ever wanting to please, we are happy to accommodate your requests! After all, the food of the era is a wonderful part of my family history however – wonderful, often simple food passed from one generation to another. Creamed Peas on Toast is such a dish and provides many wonderful memories of my Mother and I (sometimes with Dad there, others while he worked evenings at the Firehall) having an early dinner as she would tell me how her mother would make it, how she ate it as a child (6 kids, 2 bedrooms, an outhouse).
At the essence, here is the essence:
1. Add butter to a sauce pan. A few tablespoons will do. This is best if you don’t measure.
2. Add about the same amount of flour – again best if not measured. Cook down with a medium-high heat to form a roux. It will start as a paste on a medium-high heat and begin to bubble and thin out. Stir and brown lightly. Ensure it has thinned out and is forming bubbles like it is boiling.
3. Remove from heat. Add a little milk at a time, stirring in as you go. Patience is the key – too much will result in a chunky paste that simply won’t do.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add peas (frozen was our preference – especially if the package had been used previously to help sooth a twisted ankle!). Add this and gently heat. Don’t over cook – the idea is to warm the peas without turning their texture to guck. Blanched asparagus will also work as we found out last Tuesday.
6. Make toast, add butter.
7. Put creamy peas on toast. Hot sauce was my departure from the ordinary.
Eat with a knife and fork – this is better with someone you love.
You can add flare to this if you are not a purist – Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, dill, a bit of cheese, bacon, dried Parmesan, roasted garlic (or rasped garlic added raw to the butter in step 1), tuna or pancetta on the toast are all good companions.
Update: The post above is from February of 2009 – we made our own canned peas from scratch the following July – read about how to do that here.