My confidence as a cook was somewhat restored last night when I used my Ranney Ranch soup bones in what I can only call Un-Split Pea Soup. (I don’t offer a recipe, though, because while the beef was good, the recipe itself still needs work.) These tasty little morsels consist of a bone (obviously) surrounded by about three inches of meat. This time I kept it simple–searing the soup bones in a little olive oil, sauteeing with onion, adding garlic and then soup ingredients. The smell of the meat cooking in the pot was heady, with a slight undertone of something else–cloves, perhaps, or New Mexico grasses, or maybe just a memory of home.

I also discovered that the ranch offers a recipe for arm steak on their web site. It does not call for smothering the meat in bad barbecue sauce.

As for the Un-Split Peas: These were acquired on our trip to Food World (home of the mysterious and delicious little peppers I have yet to identify). I was excited to try them. They were labeled “whole dried peas,” and they consisted of small, yellowish-green pods that I imagined would puff up slightly, like black-eyed peas, and might make an interesting addition to a salad.

It’s probably pointless to go on. You know how the story went–the slowly dawning realization during cooking that the pods looked an awful lot like peas, only dried; the wonder at how quickly they were softening; and the final burst of insight upon tasting them: “Whole dried peas. Oh yes. Split peas, only . . . not split.”

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