Chickpea: (n) a round yellowish seed, used widely as food.
Imagine my shock when I discovered that garbanzo beans were also known as chickpeas.
For years, when I traveled with my friends, had brief attempts at weight loss and hovered over salad bars, I wondered if the garbanzo beans
were calorically low enough to be included in my pile of greenery and anemic salad dressing.
One day I asked the waitress at the local Ruby Tuesday’s in Alabama if they had garbanzo beans. She stared at me as if I were a Yankee who had come to ransack her plantation.
“What’s that?” she said in utter disgust.
So I described it, as much as one can manage wording to verbally recreate a non-descript object.
She replied, “You mean chickpeas?”
At this point, I was trying to be patient. I am fully aware that people from the Southern part of our great nation often have different names for things–usually with a country tinge to them.
“Chickpeas?” I questioned. “I’ve never heard them called that.”
As we were conversing, a lovely woman, gracious and well-spoken, came up and added, “Both names are correct.”
She had an English accent.
I was aggravated. I thought I had a young southern girl trapped in a language faux pas–and then this agent straight from the throne of the King’s English steps over to thwart my enthusiasm.
“See, I told ya’,” drawled the girl, strolling away.
I glanced over at the dignified Englishwoman and said, with great conviction, “I will always be a garbanzo man.”