After I moved out I went to live with two of my older brothers and older sister. We had specific nights that it was our turn to cook. I was 18 at the time and was just really beginning to experiment with cooking creations. Even at that age I suppose I was frugal. I knew I somewhat enjoyed the canned stew bought at the grocers. I know right? GAG! I wouldn't touch that junk with a 20ft pole these days!!
So, it was my night to cook. I decided I would make the most delectable stew that ever hit my family's taste buds. My nephew Dave was over too and that boy is a big eater. I'd have to dig out the biggest pot available. I bought a large piece of steak and even cut it into chucks myself. There was no buying already cut up stew meat. I was making a homemade dinner...and it was going to be fabulous.
I pan fried the steak chunks and seasoned them well, made a gravy with the drippings, sliced up potatoes and boiled them. Once that was all done I added everything to the big honkan kettle and dumped in a bag of split peas.
Ok, now you're wondering why in the world I would dump in a bag of peas. Well, I needed the green for color of course and I added carrots too. Remember, I was in the works of making the best stew. Ever.
I seasoned the pot of stew up with assorted spices, stirred it lovingly and let it simmer for a few hours.
Dinner time rolled around and I set the table and I may have even made rolls or some sort of bread. Mike, Laurie, Kelly and Dave were called to the table, we dished up our food into the big honkan soup bowls. I know I was ecstatic just thinking I was serving them the greatest stew ever. There would be no more canned filth. Well......the meat was too tough and too salty but the gravy had a nice consistency. The color mixture was great though. But, the peas were still hard little pebbles. At first everybody ate their most delicious stew in silence. I do think they were trying to be nice. I finally spit my peas out and everybody else followed. They made a ting ting sound as we plunked them on our dishes. I'm so lucky nobody broke their teeth that night and thank goodness Ken wasn't over for dinner that night!! I'm pretty sure he would have run far far away and I'd be an old maid with 158 cats.
I now know that peas and beans need to be soaked overnight. I guess I thought they were dehydrated and would zap back to life when I dumped them in. I do make stew now and it is pretty delish. Ken despises peas so I really don't have to worry about ever making that mistake again.