On a particularly murky day last week, I decided to put my freezer in order. I threw out a package of freezer-burned mini-waffles. I stacked up some bags of frozen vegetables that I couldn’t bear to throw out. I found the bags of odd pieces of bread, muffins, bagels and branches of frozen herbs. I thought they might be useful later. So I took the time to make flavored breadcrumbs with all these ingredients and pack them in freezer containers ready for crunchy coatings and flavorful stuffings.

Nearly done, at the back of the meat shelf I found a prize wrapped in layers of aluminum foil. A ham bone. I vaguely remembered putting it away just after Easter, a promise of soup sometime soon. But the weather never seemed cold enough. Or I was always too busy to commit to something long-cooking.

Just then, the wind shifted and a cold breeze powered in from the ocean. This is New England, where the weather changes in a wink, bringing fog and drizzle that makes us yearn for a pot of soup on the stove year round. Surely I had all the ingredients. Doubting myself, and unwilling to put on a raincoat and head to the supermarket (by now the rain was pelting), I checked and found everything I needed.

One problem: I’d never attempted this recipe. It was on my bucket list of recipes to try “sometime in the future.” One that includes marinated octopus and finnan haddie and scones.

OK, excuse time: I have an aversion to fish, not the cooking but the consuming. Scones always seem like a lovely thought for Sunday morning, but I have an aversion to cleaning up flour.

But the excuse for the soup was different. It was sheer dread. For much of my life I’d heard about an elderly aunt’s unsurpassed split peas soup. I never tasted it, and I never saw the recipe. And then I tasted one at a little French restaurant, in a deep bowl garnished with a shot of dry sherry and a dollop of sour cream. I often went there just for the soup. Once, after I’d had some surgery, someone kindly brought a bowl to the hospital. I’ve missed it since the restaurant closed.

Now was my moment. Was I going to throw out a gorgeous, smoky, meaty ham bone from Harrington’s of Vermont? Or would I step up to the stove and give it a try? I consulted every cookbook (of my 500) that might list a recipe. I called a couple of chef buddies. And I got to work. What I found was that this daunting recipe was no work at all. No overnight soaking as I’d feared. That went out of fashion at least 50 years ago. I learned that all the ingredients just get thrown into the pot and simmered.

So, I curled up for a chick flick as the pot bubbled away. Every so often I went into the kitchen and lifted the lid on the pot to be sure that it was really cooking. By the time the movie ended the soup was ready. Thick, meaty and warming, with a heady swirl of sherry and cream and a slight hint of clove in the background.

So next time a summer fog rolls in and brings sideways rain — as it often does during a New England summer — I’m ready. I ordered a ham for Father’s Day.

SMOKY SPLIT PEAS SOUP
Makes 8 hearty bowls
This recipe uses heavy cream or half-and-half. You can reduce the amount of cream and add a dollop of sour cream to each bowl of soup to stir in while still hot.

1-1/2 pounds dried split peas, rinsed and picked over
1 large meaty ham bone, extra meat cut from the bone and diced
7 cups water
4 cups chicken stock
5 scallions, trimmed of root
4 large carrots, trimmed and peeled
2 pinches ground cloves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 to 3/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

1. Place the peas, ham bone (chopped ham reserved for later in the recipe), water, stock in a large, heavy pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a slow simmer, bubbling gently around the edges, and cook, covered, for 30 minutes.

2. Add the onion, carrots, ground cloves and parsley. Return the pot to a boil and allow to cook partially covered for 1-1/2 to 2 hours until everything is very tender.

3. Let the soup cool about 20 minutes. Take out the scallions; discard. Now, either puree the soup with a stick blender, right in the pot, or ladle into a food processor and pulse. The finished soup should have some texture, showing tiny flecks of carrot.

4. Rewarm the soup, stirring in 1/2 cup of cream. Use the remaining 1/4 cup if the soup seems too thick. Stir in the chopped ham and sherry. Serve hot in warmed bowls.

CORNBREAD
Makes a 9-inch square pan
A pan of cornbread makes this a truly New England dinner — in spite of the sherry and sour cream in the soup. Cornbread in New England is sweeter than its Southern cousin and sets up somewhere between a bread and a cake in texture. The most common bread in colonial times, it went by many names: Johnnycake or journey-cake (because it traveled well), cornpone or hoecake (because it was often cooked on the blade of a garden hoe over an open fire).

1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1 large egg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Grease the baking pan with butter.

2. Whisk together the dry ingredients — flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt in one bowl.

3. In a second bowl, whisk together wet ingredients — milk, egg, butter. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Stir until combined. Pour batter into baking pan, smoothing the top.

4. Bake 17 to 22 minutes, until a tester piercing the center comes out clean. The bread will be lightly golden brown on top. Let rest 5 minutes. Cut into squares; serve hot with butter.

— Linda Bassett is the author of “From Apple Pie to Pad Thai: Neighborhood Cooking North of Boston.” Reach her by e-mail at KitchenCall@gmail.com. Read Linda’s blog at LindABCooks.wordpress.com. Follow Linda for quick recipes on Twitter at @Kitchencall.