There are some foods that are for adults only.
Asparagus. Guacamole. Pickled beets. Black olives. Liver and onions. Calamari. Grapefruit. Sardines. Beer. These are definitely foods for adults, WAY beyond the comprehension of most kids, except for the ones who grow up and listen to Zappa. Then, one day, sometime after their 18th birthday, they give one of these foods a try and all bets are off. They can't get enough. (This is especially true of beer, which they've probably "tried" well before their 18th birthday, but there are other reasons for that.)
Now consider lentil soup. From the point of view of a kid.
Otherwise known as pasta lenticchie (pronounced "pasta lin-deek"), lentil soup has very little to recommend to a child. It's brown, it's mushy, and - let's be honest - it looks like somebody already ate it. I wouldn't even TRY it when I was a kid, no matter WHAT my parents were threatening me with. And my parents were REALLY good with the threats.
Then, one day, magic.
I still can't say it's my favorite food. I don't put soup on the top of my favorite-foods list because, in general, I prefer food I can chew. But my husband Anthony and my son Nino, who are both soup monsters, love this stuff. And I love cooking it because:
- I love my husband Anthony and my son Nino.
- You could be in the final stages of rigor mortis and still make lentil soup in fifteen minutes.
Bonus points: Lentil soup is vegan. And incredibly good for you. And now I'm going to stop sounding like every person I've ever had no use for.
Take a bag of lentils and pour them into a strainer. Rinse them "real good, four to five times" and that's a direct quote from my grandmother. Put them in a pot with about three inches of water. Add a big can of Italian plum tomatoes, a chopped onion, 5 teaspoons of olive oil, a tablespoon of salt, and a teaspoon of black pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot, turn down the heat, and let it simmer for an hour-and-a-half. Cook about a quarter pound of broken-up spaghetti in another pot. Drain and add to lentils. Done.
You can eat lentil soup straight, or add a little wine vinegar at the table. And/or you can put a dollop of Greek yogurt on top of it. And/or some crushed red pepper. It's all good.
Leftover lentil soup tends to dry out a bit and get thick, which makes it perfect for stuffing into a pita, so now you have a sandwich, and it travels well.
Welcome to adulthood. There are benefits.