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The answer was no, until I discovered the Dwarf Grey Sugar.
There are, of course, three kinds of peas: shelling peas or English peas, where you throw away the pod and eat the little seeds inside; sugar snap peas, where you eat the pod and the developed peas both; and snow peas (also called sugar peas) where you eat the pod before the peas develop, and the leaves and the tips of the vine, too.
The Dwarf Grey belongs to the last category: the entire plant is edible, which immediately appeals. This particular sugar pea is an old variety, introduced to Europe in 1892. By contemporary standards, the plants are quite stunted, only two to three feet tall, but the leaves are a lovely purplish grey-green and it blooms in two-toned pinkish purple flowers that look for all the world like sweet peas.
The truth is, I grow the Dwarf Grey as much for the blooms as for the pods.
I plant the peas as a flowering hedge down one side of the Kitchen Garden. For support, I build what I call a Newfoundland fence, because that's where I first saw it, in my mother-in-law's home village of Renews. It's a wattle fence, really: a series of straight twigs (I use sumac from our annual cut-back of this insistent invader) set an angle in the ground like a row of back-slashes overlapped with another set of angled sticks going the opposite way. I make two fences about two feet apart, then broadcast the Dwarf Greys in between, poking the seed into the soil at roughly two-inch intervals.
The irony of peas is that they grow best in cool weather but germinate best when the soil is warm. I try to take advantage of the inevitable warm spell in early April to get them in the ground, then hope for a cool spell to help them leaf out. They aren't picky plants to grow: all through May and June, the Dwarf Grey hedge gives me pleasure, and then the peas come on in profusion. One cool, wet spring, we had peas on the table for ten weeks.
I learned how to cook peas from M. F. K. Fisher, the American writer who took food as her subject in the early years of the Second World War. What to do when the wolf is at the door? Cook it, she said, and wrote How to Cook a Wolf about living well on wartime rations. The chapter titles alone are worth the price of the book: ''How to Distribute Your Virtue.'' ''How to Be Cheerful Though Starving.'' ''How to Be Content With a Vegetable Love."
It is in The Measure of Her Powers that Fisher describes the proper way to cook peas. First, the peas must be very green, and gathered just before eating. Fresh-killed, I like to say. For Dwarf Greys, that means pods 2 to 3 inches long, with a faint bulge of peas just barely visible inside. Fisher pods her peas; I slice mine at an angle or leave them whole. In a large flat skillet, bring a scant half-inch of water to a boil, slide in the peas, and slap on a lid, then shake the pot like mad over a high flame. When the steaming stops, I throw in a big pat of butter, turn down the heat and swirl the skillet for a minute, then ready my fork for a feast.
The pods stand out nicely from this plant, making picking easy, but you'll always miss a few, which is a good thing. Leave them on the vine to dry, then save them for next year. I've been growing Dwarf Greys for twenty years from a pack I bought for a dollar in 1989. With luck, I'll never buy another.