Pea soup

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Pea soup is soup made, typically, from dried peas. It is, with variations, a part of the cuisine of many cultures. It is greyish-green or yellow in color depending on the regional variety of peas used; all are cultivars of Pisum sativum.

Pea soup has been eaten since antiquity; it is mentioned in Aristophanes' The Birds, and according to one source "the Greeks and Romans were cultivating this legume about 500 to 400 BC. During that era, vendors in the streets of Athens were selling hot pea soup."[1]

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Pea soup around the world

Canada

Soupe aux pois (jaunes) (yellow pea soup) is a traditional dish in Quebec cuisine. One source[2] says "The most authentic version of Quebec's soupe aux pois use whole yellow peas, with salt pork and herbs for flavour. After cooking, the pork is usually chopped and returned to the soup, or sometimes removed to slice thinly and served separately... Newfoundland Pea Soup is very similar, but usually includes more vegetables such as diced turnips and carrots, and is often topped with small dumplings called dough boys."

A novel about nineteenth-century Canadian farmers by Louis Hemon, entitled Maria Chapdelaine, depicts pea soup as common farmhouse fare:

In Newfoundland, split peas are cooked in a bag as part of a Jiggs dinner.

Germany

Pea soup is a common dish throughout Germany. It often contains meat such as bacon, sausage or Kassler (cured and smoked pork) depending on regional preferences. Very often, several Würste (Wurst meaning sausage) will accompany a serving of pea soup as well as some dark bread. Ready-made soup in cans is sometimes used to prepare the dish.

One of the very first instant products was a pea soup product, which mainly consisted of pea meal and beef fat ("Erbswurst": pea sausage). It was invented in 1867 by Johann Heinrich Grüneberg, who sold the recipe to the Prussian state. When the Franco-Prussian War broke out, the war ministry, which had previously tested the possibility of feeding soldiers solely on instant pea soup and bread, built a large manufacturing plant and produced between 4,000 and 5,000 tons of Erbswurst for the army during the war. In 1889, the Knorr instant-food company bought the license. Knorr, which is today a Unilever brand, continues the production of Erbswurst to the present day.

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