Annia, who's writing a memoir about food and war, sent me this (I quote with her permission):
"It's from Clifford Wright's "Mediterranean Feast." The legend is that in 1282, when the French ruled Sicily, a group of French soldiers disrupted a Sicilian Easter celebration, harassing the Sicilian women and "molesting" one of them. (The background is that the French were commandeering food from Sicilian peasants for their impending attack on Constantinople, while the Aragonians and the Byzantines were both trying to stir up popular revolts against them.) Within minutes, writes Wright, all the French soldiers were dead. Soon the uprising spread to monasteries and convents, and "foreign friars" were required to say the word ciciri, Sicilian for chickpea, a word that French people supposedly could not pronounce. Those who could not say the word were killed.
--paraphrased from p. 495, Mediterranean Feast, cites Steven Runciman's The Sicilian Vespers: A History of the Mediterranean World in the Later 13th Century."
This came about because during a recent discussion we remembered that, in the early years of the Lebanese Civil War in the 1970's, there was a joke (in poor taste) circulating in Lebanon about how the Kataeb (and their allies) used to stop cars on their check points looking for Palestinians and that they would recognize them by showing them a tomato and asking them to name the fruit. The Lebanese say "Banadoura" while the Palestinians say "Bandora". Those who pronounced wrong were pureed.