Saturday, January 31, 2009

Jolly Green Giant Terrorizes Youth

On my facebook page, I mention how the Green Giant scarred me for life about peas. So I have to explain the story.

In the early 70's I lived in Wisconsin. My parents had a small garden but it didn't produce enough vegetables to last all winter. They had rented a meat locker a few blocks from our house. Remember this is Wisconsin so meat is big. Near the town I lived as a Green Giant processing plant. This was the place where they did the actual canning and freezing of all the vegetables that they sold. During the summer, people from all around could go to the plant with plastic bags and pay pennies to get the runts. You know the ends of the corn that aren't good enough to be sold, the green beans that are too small to make it into the frozen bag and the peas that just don't make it. So one summer we went there: my mom, my brother and I. You were limited to only so many bags so we needed both of us to go (I was probably 7 and my brother 5 but we were old enough to get our limit). So we stood in line to get our bags full. Now you have to think about this for a moment. Do you know what a small garden of vegetables smells like when it gets really ripe. Multiply that by thousands. You get the smell of rotting vegetables that goes to your inner core. So I had to stand there for who knows how long holding onto these plastic bags to get peas. Lots and lots of peas. So my mom and seal them and take them to the freezer. Just the thought of peas to this day brings me back to that smell. It also didn't help that both my mother and grandmother told me my hair would get curly if I ate them. My brother had blond ringlet curls like Shirley Temple used to have and he ate peas. I was smart and decided that it wasn't for that reason.

So I will pick peas out of anything that has them. Go to a Chinese restaurant and the fried rice has peas. I have a nice pile when I finish. Chicken pot pie, never get it because it always has peas. I was a good mother and would buy frozen peas to cook for Whitney and she does like them. But I would always make sure and not breathe in the smell.

If I come over to eat with you, please do not have peas. Or else I may have to politely never see you again.


  1. That is something you'll never have to worry about when you come to see me.

  2. As the cook in the family (and a pea lover) I have tried for over 20 years to defeat this mental block without success. 20 plus years of eating vegetable soup alone. sigh.