[Sca-cooks] More on Lentils

Johnna Holloway johnnae at mac.com
Wed Jan 7 08:22:50 PST 2009

Stefan asked me if I could locate more information on lentils, so
I did some research into the English sources this am to supplement what 
I said the other day.
Looking in EEBO Full Text, I came across:

Twyne, Thomas, 1543-1613. *The schoolemaster, or teacher of table 
philosophie*. 1576.

Of all kinds of fetches or podware, as: Rice, Beanes, Lentiles, 
Chitches. Peason. Cap. 29.

Lentles also sayth hee are colde and drie, ingendring melancholick 
bloud, and dryinge the body, they darken the eyesight, and nourish 
Melancholicke diseases, if a man vse them mutch.

In the chapter on potherbs:

NOw let vs say sumwhat of Pothearbes accordinge as or|der and doctrine 
requireth, and first of Garlike, whiche, as saith Rhasis, is hot and 
drie, and taketh awaye thirstines, and increaseth fleashly lust, 
breaketh winde, and heateth the body. In hot regions, hot times, and 
vnto hot complexions it doth harme, and Galen calleth it the husbandmens 
triacle. Beanes or Lentles sod & eaten take away the stinking smell of 
it, and so doth Rue béeing chawed, and a litle therof eaten downe.

They are mentioned in the dietaries but aren't recommended all that highly.

Markham goes into them treating them as part of the pulses in his 
agricultural works and translations. See Maison Rustique which
he translated and edited from the French.


CHAP. 513. Of Lentils. Appears in Gerard, John, 1545-1612 The herball or 
Generall historie of plantes.
So they are covered in Gerard.


Probably Thomas Muffet writing in the mid 1590’s sums it up best when he 

Lentiles were so prized in Athenaeus time, that one wrote a whole 
treatise in their commendation; and Diogenes commended them above all 
meats to his Scholers, because they have a peculiar vertue to quicken 
the wit. Let us (for shame) not discontinue any longer this wholesome 
nourishment, but rather strive to find out some preparation, whereby 
they may be restored to their former or greater goodness.

Printed in Healths improvement published for the first time in 1655.


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