My favorite gardening chore is shelling peas. There’s something so peaceful about sitting with a huge bowl of peas, rhythmically stringing, shelling, tossing. When I was a little girl in Alberta, Canada, my Mum would plant 20 or more rows of peas every year. Some were sugar snaps that we could eat right away, but others, buckets and buckets of them, needed to be shelled and frozen for the long, cold winter ahead.
Although the places are vastly different, it’s amazing to me how many of the stories are similar. European immigrants toiling to make a life off a strange land, battling wild animals and wicked weather, coming up with creative ways to clothe, feed, and medicate their families when the nearest shop or doctor took an entire day to reach. They learned what native fruits and plants were good to eat, planned ways to connect with distant neighbors through dances, church services, and work parties. They even came from the same countries: Denmark, Germany, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland.
I find it quite lovely to see how, even though we’re on opposite sides of the world, we are more alike than some would think. We all want to be safe, happy, and loved, close to those we adore, with freedom to grow and learn and thrive. As I see the new waves of immigrants arriving in Australia, Canada, USA, and Europe, I can’t help but think of the other immigrants, the people who made the civilizations we love today. And I hope that we will support and encourage this new wave as much as we can. I can’t wait to see the contributions they make to our food, culture, medicine, faith, technology, all of it. As an immigrant myself, I’m so thankful for the Australians who have welcomed me, made me feel valued and wanted, and given me freedom to be myself.
Caper Pea Potato Salad
10 medium-size potatoes (white, red, or gold)
1/2 – 3/4 cup whole egg mayonnaise
1 tsp paprika
handful fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1/4 cup capers, lightly drained
1/2 – 1 cup freshly shelled peas
Cut potatoes in half and place in large pot. Cover with water, salt well, bring to the boil and boil about 15-20 minutes until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Drain well. Spread on cookie sheet and set aside (or put in fridge) to cool.
While potatoes are cooling, whisk together mayonnaise, paprika, parsley, salt, and pepper until well mixed. Stir in capers and fresh peas.
When potatoes are cool, slice them into a large serving bowl. Pour dressing over and stir gently to coat. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.