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Catholic Recipe: Pea Soup


  • 1 cup split peas
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 diced carrots
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • Details

  • Prep Time: 1 day and 3 hours
  • Difficulty: • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 11+
  • Origin: England

There is no food connected with the idea of the Passion, but there is with an event said to have taken place on this Sunday and which gave the day its second title of Carling Sunday. According to the story, a famine in Newcastle, England, was relieved when on that day there came into the harbor a ship with a cargo of peas commonly known as carlings. Some authorities hazard the guess that the name came from a penitential Lenten practice of wearing hard peas within the shoe—certainly a most uncomfortable custom.

The peas from which the day takes its secondary title are a variety of gray or brown pea prepared sometimes as a soup, sometimes fried in butter after being steeped in water all night — "until they be tender got." To modern palates the soup would no doubt be far more palatable.


Wash and soak the peas overnight or use the quick-cooking variety. Place with the remaining ingredients except the cream, to boil, or rather simmer for about two hours. Mash through a fine sieve and add more water if necessary. Mix a little flour with the cream and stir slowly into the soup. Serve with buttered croutons.

Recipe Source: Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1951
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