Appears in
Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

carling from Carling/Carlin/Care Sunday, the fifth Sunday of lent, when it is a tradition in the north of England and parts of Scotland to serve a dish made of dried grey field peas, known as carlings. Constance Cruickshank (1959), author of an exceptionally charming book on Lenten food, cites a couple of old recipes. In the less common of the two, the carlings were soaked for 24 hours, then tied in a cloth and boiled as a pudding for three hours, after which they were rubbed through a sieve, beaten with salt, butter, and cream—finishing up like pease pudding but brown instead of green—and served with any kind of meat. The more usual recipe also starts with soaking and boiling, but then requires the carlings to be drained, fried briefly in butter, then: ‘mix with more butter and lots of sugar and add a small glass of rum. Eat while hot.’ It was the latter recipe which prompted someone to say that he didn’t care for the greyish-brown peas but that the gravy was wonderful. Carlin peas were still cooked and sold at Nottingham Goose Fair (which is held in October) until some 50 years ago.