Prior to the changes that the 1970s brought to rural societies, beans dominated the eating habits of my village, Kavousi in Lasithi. The climatic conditions, but especially the soil conditions, favored cultivation and made beans the dominant cultivable legume in this corner of Crete.
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During Lent the food is simple because many people fast. Legumes and greens, which are abundant at this time, have their honors. Chickpeas, lentils, broad beans, black beans are not missing from the Lenten menu. When my mum used to say, 'Tomorrow I'll get chickpeas' my mind went back to my early childhood and I was automatically reminded of the song that our kindergarten teacher, Maria, taught us.
The tales of our grandmothers and mothers are from beautiful childhood memories. They are etched in our memories forever. And even for younger mothers, we like to tell our children tales when they go to bed or it's time to eat. We may be carried away by the fear that our children will not eat well. It's successful using a fairy tale that gets their attention to make eating time more fun. They relax and enjoy their food. I heard a lot of fairy tales as a kid from my mother (not because I didn't eat my food, mind!) as she often liked to tell me these stories, even at lunch time. Fairy tales that talked about fairies and dragons, elves and maidens, fairy tales that took our fantasy to a magical world dominated by love, faith and kindness, which was a world of dreams.
For us Greeks, legumes and especially beans are one of our key nutritional elements that provide valuable antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients essential for health. Beans are the national food of Greeks that have been grown for generations, especially in times when people were not able to buy meat.