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How old are lentils? Here’s one clue: People who say lentils are shaped like lenses have the reference backward. Turns out that the world’s first lenses got that name because they were shaped, yes, like lentils. The lentils came first. Way first.

Lentils are Pompeii old. Ezekiel old. Ancient Sumeria old. Stone Age old.

Go to a well-stocked Indian market, and you’ll find an overwhelming variety of dried lentils: different colors, some with skins on, some with skins off. But in most mainstream groceries, the varieties are limited to three or four — red, brown, black and French de Puy.

For tips, cooking times and recipes read Wednesday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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