You want humble? You want peasant food, cucina povera? Well Mesciua is the thing for you.
The picture shows the modern mixings. You buy the ingredients in a vacuum packed bag. It contains pre-soaked beans and grains. The ingredient list: ceci, fagioli, grano—garbanzos, beans and grains.
Mesciua is a soup that originates in La Spezia, specifically at the port of La Spezia, where women would come after ships were offloaded and pick up the stuff that had fallen on the pier. Perhaps if you have a fertile imagination you can picture stout women bending with agile grace to pick up the odd bean here, the odd grain there, placing them gently in a sack.
At home, you’d put what you had gleaned in some water and boil it. When it was done, you seasoned it with salt and pepper and drizzled some olive oil in it. Our package advises us not to even stir it while it simmered.
We did what it said. The resulting Mesciua was good on a chilly Lunigiana night.