The cenerata is a way of preparing a dish that today has truly disappeared and is only remembered as a testimony to a use widely practiced in Tuscany until the last world war. This name indicates the method of "soaking" dried chick-peas. These would have been placed in a large enamelled soup tureen and covered with a tea towel of cotton or linen through which was pored the ashes of olives and then slowly filled with warm water. This operation was done in the evening.
On the following morning the tea towel encrusted with the ashes would be taken off, and the peas would be rinsed in running water very quickly and cooked in salted water with rosemary and garlic, very slowly, for at least two hours.
Today this culinary operation, that asks for slow cooking over a wood burning fire, is unthinkable due to the frantic rhythm of life in which we are under. But it is good to remember this antique method that gave the food - always consumed with a certain sacredness - magic flavours that are today negated. And so a plate of chick-peas, some pieces of bread and a good olive oil was a dish much appreciated; who could would accompany it with a piece of boiled baccalà (dried salt cod) and the feast would be complete.