As I walked among the happy faces and spoke with the revelers at the festival, I could clearly see the pride that everyone felt towards this place and their work. In full regalia, gigantic harvesters were gathered in a cluster, showing off their might. Bright yellow tents had been erected and all around families had come together to celebrate the past year and to discuss the future. Under one of these tents, a delicious display was set up to show off the two star products this area of agricultural abundance is famous for. On one table was a mouthwatering prosciutto leg ready to be carved into diaphanous melt-in-your-mouth pieces. Gorgeously marbled salumis waited to be devoured. Next to the pork was a huge pot of humble lentils cooked simply with some tomatoes and aromatics. I like lentils but I would never claim them as a favorite. Until I took my first bite of the Castelluccio lentil, I had never really thought about the issues I often had with them: the uneven softness—some mushy, some hard—and the grainy skin. With each meltingly tender bite, I understood; it wasn’t that these lentils had been cooked in a new, secret way or that the sauce was out of the ordinary. Sure, the tomatoes were the best an Italian summer could offer, but it wasn’t the cooking that made such a difference in the taste. It was everything that had gone into the lentil before it ever hit the stove.