[Sca-cooks] Bohemian Baba

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Sun Jan 20 15:09:20 PST 2008

Looking at pictures on the net of Lathyrus savitus, this does not appear to 
be what I bought.  They Lathyrus seeds are quite irregular, and these just 
look like ordinary peas.  The whole dry peas were a pale grey, but when 
cooked and hulled they were the golden yellow of ordinary yellow split peas. 
They cooked a drier and less mushy though.  They had a nice texture in the 
dish, which turned out quite well, IMO.

Rumpolt calls them "Erbeß", there are also references in other recipes to 
"grüne Erbeß", which could mean fresh peas rather than green colored ones. 
It was the resulting dish that was white.  Is there really any reason to 
think he didn't mean common peas?

The recipes call  for putting them through a "Durchschlag", which the 
dictionaries say is a strainer.  I was using a wire sieve and found it quite 
difficult.  It really needed a food mill.  Is there any evidence for food 
mills in period?  Perhaps the kind shaped like a cone, with a wooden pestle 
which my mother used for applesauce.


Your description of the peas you used make me think they may actually be 
yellow pigeon peas, Cajanus cajan, which look gray to white when dried. 
They are used to make dahl.

I don't think there is any reason to think Rumpolt is referring to anything 
other than peas when he uses "Erbess" and I tend to agree that when he calls 
for "green peas," he may very well be calling for fresh.  I have some 
questions about whether he is calling for field peas or garden peas, but 
that should have little effect on texture.

Take a look at these strainers, particularly the pot with the conical 
strainer insert.  Look familiar?  http://www.ostgardr.org/cooking/strainers/

If the dish was good, I wouldn't worry to much about the color.  The common 
way to whiten vegetables in water is to overcook them, which might work in 
this case, but is not necessarily "good eats."


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