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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.

This crop was endangered, especially in spring, by the possible strong winds of this season. It is usually a southwest wind, which is dry and warm and can reach up to 100 km / h.
There was no household in the village that did not produce some beans every year. Their cultivation required fertile soil, which is why the people of Kavousi chose their best fields to sow the beans.
Southern winds are considered to be destructive when inflated and cause damage to outdoor crops. Alas for those whose cultivation was a victim of high winds.

200g dried beans
6 large onions or 10 small
1 big tomato (grated)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon cumin
4 laurel leaves
1 teaspoon sugar
150ml. olive oil
Salt & pepper

Soak the beans from the previous night in a bowl with enough water.
The next day, remove the black piece of the bean with a knife. Boil them in enough water for about half an hour and then strain.
In a saucepan, put the oil on to heat and add the sliced onions.
Simmer for a while and put the sugar to lightly caramelize the onions, stirring constantly.
Then add the grated tomato, the tomato paste and herbs.
Boil for about a quarter of an hour and then add the beans. Pour in a little warm water, stir lightly and leave the food to cook for about ten minutes more.

Good luck!!!




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PAP 0347

Many thanks to folklorist Leonidas Koudoumoyannakis for his valuable help in the text.