[Sca-cooks] Black-eyed peas was Food and personality

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Wed Mar 5 13:18:20 PST 2008

Vigna unguiculata (AKA Vigna sinensis) is the black-eyed pea.  English terms 
for the various variants are cowpea, asparagus pea, crowder pea, yard-long 
bean, china bean, black-eyed pea, black-eyed bean, long bean, red pea, 
southern pea, and field pea (automatically confusing it with real field 
peas, Pisum sativum var. arvense).

Chickpeas are Cicer arietinum variously also referred to as garbanzos, ceci, 
and gram peas.

The Oxford Companion to Food lists them under the entries Chickpea and 

I would suspect this is a singular error in translation rather than a common 


> Suspiciously, I would say exactly like a bowl of black eyed peas! This
> touches on something that has been twittering about in my brain for a
> while now.
> Several years ago I was doing research for a German feast and I ended
> up on a German Cookery list (in German heh) and they were incredibly
> helpful. One of the questions I asked was about what kind of bean to
> use in a specific recipe. One respondent said said that it was most
> likely referring to chickpeas. He then added the latin name (Vigna
> unguiculata) and described it as being readily identifiable by the
> black spot at it's center.
> Based on that I realized that he was talking about black eyed peas not
> what we colloquially refer to as Chickpeas. And this is what got me to
> thinking, and this is what has been swimming around in my brain. Are a
> goodly number of European individuals are that the English colloquial
> term for black eyed peas is Chickpeas? What do the British call black
> eyed peas? Here in the US we use Chickpea and Garbanzo beans
> interchangeably, but does the rest of the world? And if there is a
> considerable segment of non-native English speakers who say Chickpeas
> but are thinking black eyed peas - what about the culinary manuscripts
> that have been translated by Europeans into English? I know that many
> of the texts we use were translated not by Americans, but by other
> experts from Europe. If they learned English from someone that taught
> them that Chickpea = black eyed pea, then maybe our understanding of
> certain recipes is very wrong.
> So, I finally got that out of my brain and out here where y'all can
> pick it to pieces.
> What do y'all think?
> -- 
> Serena da Riva

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