Eat Your Lentils

My column in yesterday’s GoLocalProv is about New Year traditions.

Some years ago, we journeyed to Umbria and the Italian hill town of Castellucio (near Norcia) in the Apennine Mountains. The tranquil village lies above the plain. As we traveled above the tree line, we looked up at people hang gliding and down on fertile valleys lavishly colored with red poppies, yellow rapeseed, and acres of bushy, pale blue flowered lentils. Yes, lentils. The town is known for its excellent production.

Courtesy of Getty Images

I think of that beautiful village of one hundred and fifty inhabitants at New Year because of the Italian custom that reveres lentils. New Year’s Day is celebrated with those lens-shaped, high protein, high fiber legumes that denote hoped-for prosperity. They symbolize little coins; the more lentils, the more coins one might realize in the year to come.

Here is the link to Eat Your Lentils

Happy Healthy New Year

By | 2018-12-31T13:47:57+00:00 January 1st, 2019|Holidays|8 Comments


  1. Peter Voccio JR. January 2, 2019 at 2:15 pm - Reply

    Customs, traditions, carried down for centuries. Enjoyable story of a small town high up in the mountains with a population of 150 folks. Lentils I learned are high in protein, will make note for future servings, of course Ann, will prepare the little round lentils and I will sit and enjoy. I do remember my aunt and uncle and family would parade around their house with uncle holding a Christmas tree saying words in Italian. Removing evil I guess, of course I was confused at the time. Customs and Traditions.
    Nice photo of your Dad.

    • Ed January 2, 2019 at 2:24 pm - Reply

      Yes, Peter, it is about culture, customs, and traditions. One wonders what superstitions the ‘old-timers brought with them from southern Italy. A great book to read is “Christ Stopped at Eboli” by Carlo Levi. He writes of his exile in southern Italy before WW II. Read of the old Italian superstitions based on witchcraft et. al.
      If you cannot find the book, I will let you borrow mine.
      I wish you could have met my father. Wonderful man.

  2. Peter Voccio JR January 2, 2019 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    Ed, It would have been my pleasure to meet your dad. From all your blogs about your family, your energy comes from mom and your steadiness from dad.

    • Ed January 2, 2019 at 7:32 pm - Reply

      Perceptive you are

  3. Nina Laurenzo January 7, 2019 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    Ed I share your beautiful memory of Castellucio. I bought a bag of lentils while I was there, Packed them in the suitcase. Once back in RI we all celebrated on New Year’s Day with a wonderful meal of lentil soup..

    • Ed January 7, 2019 at 8:33 pm - Reply

      Yes, Nina, we loved the place. Kinda wanna live there, You know!

  4. Joe Giusto January 7, 2019 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    Yes, lentils for the New Year. Boy, do I enjoy them all year round as well. They are so easy to cook and flavor with onion, celery and carrots for one heck of a fast hot soup dish on a cold winter day. Got a left over ham bone? Toss that in and voilla, a super dish.

    • Ed January 7, 2019 at 9:23 pm - Reply

      Yes indeed, Joe. had them with cotechino yesterday.

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