Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pea Soup

Eastside Road, April 28, 2010—
THINKING ABOUT THAT pea soup, which we all but finished this evening. Perhaps Lindsey was put in mind of pea soup by our drive, last Thursday, down Highway 101. I think I was first fascinated by Andersen's Pea Soup in the late 1940s, when another boy and I were driven on a week's vacation by a funny not-quite-uncle down to Los Angeles to visit his sister, a college friend of my mother's.

peasoup.jpgIt was the billboard fascinated me, of course. It continued to throughout my youth, though I didn't see it that often (perhaps that was part of the fascination). Looking at it now, I'm surprised at its similarity to another advertising gimmick that's often fascinated me,
the little top-hatted man with the big mallet on the Western Exterminator trucks. It in turn derives from Ignatz, the mouse in Krazy Kat, I suppose.

Of course I never got to go to Andersen's when I was a boy, and since I've grown up I've never particularly wanted to, so I have no idea what their split pea soup is like. When I was a boy split pea soup came in a can; its label carried the exotic name habitant and it came from Canada. A thread on Chowhound reveals that it was made with lard, which rather surprises me. I remember thinking that it was tasty, and I think we bought and ate it even in the early days of our marriage, fifty years ago, often with croutons in it, la la.

Tonight Lindsey toasted a couple of slices of Como bread to float atop the soup. The contrast of textures is nice, and the slow dissolve of that contrast as you work your way through the bowl. I like it.

Green salad tonight, our first at home in several days: I've missed it.
Cheap Nero d'Avola


Curtis Faville said...

I like the little Exterminator too. Especially the dark glasses, which I think are intended to make him slightly spooky--the hangman's hood.

Perhaps also a little like the Monopoly man, white mustache and striped slacks. Spats. Top hat.

Once when I was about 5, I turned a corner down the grocery aisle, and there, on stilts, was a very tall fellow dressed up in the Planter's Peanut suit. He reached down and handed me a free bag, which I uncertainly accepted. I came about up to the bottom of his "knee". Such "promotions" would be unimaginable today. Probably too great a risk of insurance liability.

Charles Shere said...

When I was a boy I was also intrigued by the walrus-mustached roué on the cover of Esquire magazine. And then there's what's-his-name, with the monocle, squinting at a butterfly, on the cover of The New Yorker. But all this takes us afar from the subject: mangiamo!