Friday, September 11, 2009

Day 3

A brief history of lentils:

According to Wikipedia, lentils are a type of pulse, which is a subset of the legume family. The seeds grow annually in pods, usually about two seeds to each pod. They were one of the first crops to be cultivated for agriculture in Mesopotamia thousands of years ago and have been referenced numerous times in many historical texts throughout human history. In fact, the lens was named after lentils (which is 'lens' in Latin) because the optical glass piece resembled the lentil's shape.

There are close to four million tons of lentils harvested each year (which makes my forty pounds seem pale in comparison) and they can be found all over the world. Almost half are produced in India, although they are consumed domestically. The largest exporter of lentils, and second largest producer, is actually Canada. That's right, Canada. The fields of Saskatchewan are apparently very good for lentil growth and produce the largest exported crop of lentils in the world. Domestically, the Palouse region of Eastern Washington, centered around Pullman, produces much of the US crop. (Which is in fact how this whole challenge got started. My sister, Krista, is a freshman at WSU in Pullman, WA this year and when we moved her into school, the Pullman Lentil-fest was beginning. This led to me explaining about Anthony's history with lentils, which later led to me telling Anthony that his name had come up in relation to lentils, and well, the rest is just lentil-filled history. So if I die, blame Krista.)

So yeah, lentils are many and plentiful all over the world (not just my belly) and apparently, unbeknownst to many, Canada makes and exports a lot of them. Interesting.

Oh, fun fact: close to 100 tons of lentils were used to cushion the obelisk at St. Peter's Basilica during its journey from Egypt. So there's that.

So, Day 3- Still had lots of lentil burgers left, so I ate three patties for breakfast and three for lunch. Three was definitely more manageable that four and after lunch, I felt like maybe I could even eat another. Upon re-reading the Wikipedia site, I realize that this is probably because red lentils, which I used to make the burgers, contain about a third the dietary fiber that green lentils do. They could be a good way to ween myself into super fiber mode.

For dinner, I chose a classic: lentil soup. Who doesn't think of soup when they hear about lentils? Loosely following online recipes, I sauteed some onion in olive oil and then combined my remaining red lentils (~2.2lbs) with the last bit of green ones (~.2lbs plus the leftover liquid from their cooking), as well as water and my last three cups of duck stock. Add a little parsley, coriander, cumin and star anise, cook till tender then hit with the stick blender and you've got a soup! Plenty of soup. The pot contained thirty ladle-fulls. I started with a bowl of five and then since I wasn't full, went back for five more. The end of that bowl was a bit of a struggle and I'm currently feeling the consequences, but I'm back slightly ahead of schedule! Yeah! The remaining soup was put into four Tupperware containers and should have about 0.4lbs of lentils in each: a good meal amount. Soup is tasty, but I don't know if I'll try to go through two at once again. Ugh.

Total so far: ~4.3lbs lentils consumed, ~35.7lbs to go. 27 days remain.

Teaser!: Future recipe- Lentil Beer! (to be continued...)

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