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Lenticchie Verdi Lucane e Pugliesi

Lentils, between history and tradition

Alessia Giannino

Lentils have always considered the meat of the poor, as rich in mineral salts, vitamins and fibers.
It islegumes Belonging to the family of papilionaceous and according to some studies it is the oldest legume cultivated by man. It seems, in fact, that the first traces rise to the 7000 A.C., but as regards their consumption the first news report that in Turkey they would already use it from 5,500 A.C. Even in the Bible and in the tables of the ancient Greeks and Romans never lacked and given their great nutritional value, they were used by poorer people.
Especially in the Middle Ages and in the periods of famine, when the food was scarce, the lentils easily replaced a complete meal, providing the requirement necessary to improve the health conditions of the population.

Popular beliefs
In Italy the lentils are very used in the kitchen.
However, there is a custom whose tradition has been rooted over time: eating the cotechino with lentils at night between December 31st and January 1st.
When celebrating the end of a year and the arrival of another we always hope that the new one can be better than the previous one. The Italians, the people among which a thousand superstitions have always hung, recognize in this ritual, the hope of having money and luck. Already at the time of the ancient Romans at New Year's Eve a plate of lentils was consumed, as there was a belief that this legume guaranteed greater riches.
The shape of the lentil reminds that of gold coins and also cooking, through which they increase in volume, suggests to growth and consequently to greater wealth. These are the two reasons why lentils still represent opulence.
Furthermore, moreover, on December 31, a purse full of lentils was given.
Today, with the passing of the centuries the tradition has evolved, so those who prepare the New Year's dinner, even the lentils, to eat at midnight, immediately after the toast for the new year.

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