On Wednesday, The New York Times posted a recipe for guacamole to Twitter so egregious that it elicited public denouncements from President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush. The Texas GOP even hinted that they considered the recipe an act of war.
The crime? Peas. Peas in guacamole. Not since a pea lodged between a princess’ mattresses has this small, round vegetable caused such a fracas. But unlike the loud majority on Twitter, the people at the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council thought the recipe was fantastic.
“We did see the recipe, of course, and we think it’s a terrific recipe!” said Tim McGreevy, the pea lobby's CEO. “I love guacamole! A little sprinkling of peas—I think it adds to the product.” The council, based in Moscow, Idaho, loves the recipe so much that they’re sending it out in their newsletter to growers. “Over the Fourth of July we want everyone to try this recipe!” McGreevy said.
Questions of guacamole authenticity aside, the humble pea has a lot to offer. The United Nations has named 2016 the International Year of Pulses, a category of legumes that includes dried peas, lentils, chickpeas and other beans. (Only the dried versions of these foods are considered true “pulses.”)
Pulses are high in protein and dietary fiber, require little water to grow and fix nitrogen to enrich the soil they are grown in. They are among the most sustainable crops on the planet. The U.N. hopes to draw attention not just to pulse crops’ nutritional benefits but also to their potential contribution to food security.
But the pea takeover isn’t waiting until 2016. According to McGreevy, pea protein is already used in products such as General Mills’ Larabars. The pea renaissance also includes pastas made from pea and lentil flour, baked goods and tortillas (you could have an entirely pea-based Mexican meal).
McGreevy is also trying to turn people onto the idea that dried peas can be used to make smoothies.
“People go ‘Whaaaat? You put peas in a drink?’ Oh yeah, it’s coming,” McGreevy said. “You blend it into a liquid and add it into your smoothie drink and blend it all together. It’s terrific with strawberries and raspberries and apple juice.”
Indeed, people already stuff their smoothies with ingredients like kale and wheat germ, so pulverized peas might catch on without too much of a fuss.
Asked about the widespread political implication of Peaghazi, McGreevy was optimistic. “At least it brought both parties together,” he said. “They can agree on something, so in that respect we are promoting world peace.”
Did McGreevy mean world “peace” or world “peas?”
“Either way you want to take it,” said McGreevy. “I don’t think either President Obama or Jeb Bush are anti-pea, that’s not how we’re taking it. Our challenge to them is to give peas a chance.”