Frequently in my childhood a conversation would arise at the dinner table that went something like this; "How many peas would you like?" "About sixty please". (Laughter ensues).
The question befits a countable noun such as sausages. However the correct answer is something which befits a non-countable noun such as rice. "Quite a lot", "Not very much", "A spoonful" or "Less" (rather than "Fewer"). Why is it that peas defy classification as countable or non-countable?
I've had it explained to me that the etymology of pea is a back-engineered (and originally incorrect) singular derived from "pease" which would suggest "How much peas would you like?" is a grammatically correct question.
However this doesn't explain why the same problem occurs with other small items such as sliced carrots or cornflakes.
Is it size-related? Is there a no-man's land between rice and sausages where English is simply lacking an appropriate solution?