Grey Peas

Location: Everywhere
Era: Timeless!

“The thing that I cook now, that my mother used to cook for me, is grey peas. I make a good dish of grey peas. The secret ingredient, which I first tried and it seemed to work out well, is soy sauce. It’s probably not traditional as soy sauce wasn’t around then, but I add it now and it makes them nice and salty. I just eat anything and everything, I always have done since I was a kid and always will do.” Thomas Smedley
“My Nan always used to cook grey peas and bacon too. She still makes it now on a Saturday lunch time for my family. As soon as I walk through the door I can smell it, and I don’t particularly like it, but it feels like tradition. It’s quite salty from the bacon – it’s quite hard to describe other than that. It has a plain flavour and is quite sloppy. When I was younger, I’d sneak into the kitchen and steal the bacon out of the grey peas as it was the only bit I liked.”
Charlotte Mincher

“I did like grey peas. Soaked overnight and boiled with an onion and some fat bacon. Served with crusty bread. It was a bit windy though!”
John Gibson


  • 2 packets of grey peas (from local butcher)
  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • Large pack of bacon with fat on (smoked is tastier)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Soy sauce
  • 1 crusty loaf
  • Butter


Put grey peas in a large saucepan add 1 tablespoon of Bicarbonate of soda, cover with boiling water.

Keep topping water up to cover peas as they will swell.

Soak overnight.

Thoroughly rinse peas in clean water.

Add peas back to pan season well with salt & pepper.

Cover with boiling water.

Bring to boil.

When boiling turn down to simmer gently.

Keep a watch on pan as it often boils over, and this is very messy.

Cut bacon into bite size pieces and fry – adding good shake of soy sauce until just going crispy.

Add bacon and fat from frying pan to grey peas.

Bring back to simmer. Simmer for 2-3 hours.

They will need to be topped up throughout cooking with boiled water and constantly stirred to desired consistency.

Add more seasoning if required.

Just before ready to eat slice crusty bread and spread with butter (to dip in grey peas).