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Parched Peas

Lancashire, Yorkshire

(Or Black Peas)

Dried black peas (Cajanus cajan, Maple Peas or Pigeon Peas) soaked, and now commonly boiled until the water becomes very slightly thickened, and served hot with salt, vinegar, pepper and butter, but formerly cooked in other ways. 'Parch' is an old term drying, which has become transferred to 're-hydrating'. Black Peas are still offered at Northern fairgrounds and markets to be eaten from a cup.

From: Lancashire Evening Post - Saturday 22 October 1932:

The Falcoln Inn, Adelphi Street, Preston - owned in the 1870's by Thomas Preston and the presumed home of the 'Parched Pea Club'

THE leading citizens of Preston the 'good old days' had an exclusive convivial coterie, called the "Preston Oyster and Parched Pea Club." They met every Monday night the months with an 'R' in them, at Thomas Harrison's to enjoy a jolly evening on oysters, peas and port, and held an annual dinner at some appointed place, usually on December 31st. to see the New Year in. There survives some suggestion that this quaintly-named society was thinly disguised Jacobite organisation, like the mock corporation of Walton-le-Dale that met at the ancient Unicorn Inn. ...
Why Parched Peas ? Treason hunters suspect some mystic significance about the presence parched peas in the feast, but could never solve the mystery. There was none to found. Parched peas are purely Preston penchant, still popular and purchasable people who like ancient customs, and know where they are to found and when. They are simply what is known in the trade as 'grey peas' or pigeon peas. They are prepared for eating by par-boiling, and subsequent roasting in fat. Children buy them old-fashioned tuckshops on Friday nights, in penny and halfpenny paper funnels, piping hot. Within living memory "Hot Pea Peter used to set out from Marsh-lane on his winter night rounds with two big tins of peas curried on yoke and charcoal brazier under each tin. Singing a doggerel rhyme with scores of verses, about:

      Hot peas, parched peas
      A penny for a plateful.
      Better than yer chitterlings, potted shrimps, or cheese.
      Hot peas, fine peas, a penny for plateful.
      Who'll buy a penn'orfn of me hot parched peas?"

Compare with:
Carling Peas
Grey Peas

Black Peas at Bury Market - 2011

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