There is nothing glamorous about the green lentil yet, from the rich and varied universe of the dried pulse, it holds sway as my unchallenged favourite. There is no question that it needs a little help but, if that help is offered, it accepts it willingly, absorbs it thoroughly and is all the better for it. Olive oil, garlic, finely chopped carrot and onion formed the base to the help that I offered this time. The lentils are added to the softened vegetables and turned so that they shine with a glossy coat of oil. Good stock is poured over them together with some browned, Toulouse sausages, the whole left to simmer and bubble until they are ready to be eaten with some grain mustard, bread and wine.
The name of my favourite pulse put me in mind of a story with a moral. A tramp had carefully chosen his spot for begging to be close to some traffic lights. His tactic was to wait for cars to be stopped by the red light which provided him with the perfect opportunity to approach his captive punters and to try his luck. At one such moment, he noticed a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce had pulled to a halt directly in front of him.The wealthy owner, who was seated near to the kerb in the back seat, was disturbed from his reveries by a tap on his window. Seeing the tramp he lowered the electric window. The tramp, knowing that time was not on his side, came straight to the point:
“Can you spare me the price of a meal, Guv’nor”.
For a moment there was silence between them as the rich man looked the poor man in the eye before he slowly enunciated
“Neither a borrower nor a lender be. William Shakespeare”.
Upon which the electric window silently slid upwards and was closed. The tramp tapped once more on the window which duly slid down again. He looked the rich man in eye and, drawing from the depths of his rich literary memory, said:
” Cunt. D.H.Lawrence.”
The moral: If lenders demanded as little interest as that shown in dried lentils, the world would be a happier place, and I could give up sitting at these traffic lights.