All Hail the Humble Lentil / Mike Piskur


"You, who dare insult lentil soup, sweetest of delicacies." - Aristophanes (allegedly)

Lentil soup is, unequivocally, the best thing to eat, and the most sensible part of one's culinary arsenal. Lentil soup is easy to make, inexpensive, nutritious, and environmentally friendly. It is the cast iron skillet of foods: versatile, utilitarian, reliable, low maintenance, unpretentious. Cooked lentils are probably one of the earliest recipes invented by humans, after we figured out how to harvest them and heat them in water. Lentil soup is time travel in food form. Through the humble lentil, we can walk with our distant ancestors.

According to Wikipedia:
Lentils were unearthed in the Paleolithic and Mesolithic layers of Franchthi Cave in Greece (9,500 to 13,000 years ago), in the end-Mesolithic at Mureybet and Tell Abu Hureyra in Syria, and sites dating to 8000 BC in the area of Jericho.

Lentil soup is mentioned in the Bible: In Genesis 25:30-34, Esau is prepared to give up his birthright for a pot of fragrant red lentil soup being cooked by his brother, Jacob. In Jewish tradition, lentil soup has been served at times of mourning; the roundness of the lentil represents a complete cycle of life.

Lentils are a nutritional superpower. Lentils are high in protein, fiber, iron, and potassium. Add salt and pepper. Add tahini for fat and extra nutrients. Add sausage if you like. Add tomatoes, spinach, potatoes, carrots, or basically any other vegetable. Add curry powder, turmeric, chili powder, or other spices of your choosing. Trying making dal makhani or lentil burgers or lentil ni├žoise salad.

According to the Environmental Working Group, lentils are among the best foods for the environment:

Lentils, 0.9 CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of lentils, a car driving equivalent of 2 miles or 3.25 kilometers, a low carbon footprint.



The next chart is not easy to read, but lentils (listed at the top) are the most climate-friendly food.



I'd be remiss without mentioning that lentils are delicious! Why are you not eating them more often? Save money, feel good, enjoy regular bowel movements, shrink your carbon footprint, and have fun while cooking. What possible reason could you have for not eating lentil soup? It's insane not to eat lentils. Ignoring the mighty lentil is highly irrational behavior.*

*Unless, god forbid, you are allergic to lentils.

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