Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Black-Eyed Pea Story

I mentioned that we lived in Frankfurt, Germany for four years. We lived in an apartment complex filled with other Americans who were employed by various governmental agencies. Most were Yankees but a few of us Southerners had squeaked in.

My upstairs neighbor was a good Catholic woman from Erie, Pennsylvania. One day she appeared at my front door with an open tin can. "What do I do with these?" she asked as she shoved the can in my face. Inside the can were black-eyed peas.

"Just put them in a pot and warm them up," I told her. "Then eat them."

"Oh," she replied. "I really wasn't sure what to do with them."

Not sure what to do with black-eyed peas? Seemed a little odd to me. So I pursued the subject a bit.

Army commissaries often have food in plain silver cans with no label. The only marking is black stenciling on the top of the can. This particular can had the following "code" on the top: B-Eye Peas. Simple enough, I thought. Well... not to a Yankee.

"I thought I was buying Bird's Eye Peas," she explained, not thinking that Bird's Eye is a brand name and not a type of pea.

"Nope, you bought black-eyed peas. You might want to throw a little ham in there to season them up. That'll make them taste even better."

And that is the black-eyed pea story. It was a lot funnier if you were there.

Another time I'll tell about giving lessons on how to fry chicken. Actually, there isn't much to tell except that a couple of Yankee gals asked me to teach them how to fry chicken. End of story.