Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Stone Soup

Yesterday I shared the fable of Stone Soup with the first grade class where I volunteer as part of Chefs Move to Schools.  We explored some healthy vegetables and learned that we can achieve a greater good when we all work together, contributing whatever we have to offer. 

I used this site for resources and inspiration including: felt board story templates and a copy of the fable.

Scroll on down for the recipe...

The Fable of Stone Soup

A kindly, old stranger was walking through the land when he came upon a village.  As he entered, the villagers moved towards their homes locking doors and windows.

The stranger smiled and asked, "Why are you all so frightened?  I am a simple traveler, looking for a soft place to stay for the night and a warm place for a meal."
"There's not a bite to eat in the whole province," they told him. "We are weak and our children are starving.  Better keep moving on."
"Oh, I have everything I need," he said. "In fact, I was thinking of making some stone soup to share with all of you." He pulled an iron cauldron from his cloak, filled it with water, and began to build a fire under it.
Then, with great ceremony, he drew an ordinary-looking stone from a silken bag and dropped it into the water.
By now, hearing the rumor of food, most of the villagers had come out of their homes or watched from their windows. As the stranger sniffed the "broth" and licked his lips in anticipation, hunger began to overcome their fear.
"Ahh," the stranger said to himself rather loudly. "I do like a tasty stone soup. Of course, stone soup with cabbage - that's hard to beat."
Soon a villager approached hesitantly, holding a small cabbage he'd retrieved from its hiding place, and added it to the pot.
"Wonderful!!" cried the stranger. "You know, I once had stone soup with cabbage and a bit of salt beef as well; it was fit for a king."
The village butcher managed to find some salt beef.  And so it went, through potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and so on, until there was indeed a delicious meal for everyone in the village to share.
The villager elder offered the stranger a great deal of money for the magic stone, but he refused to sell it and traveled on the next day. 
As he left, the stranger came upon a group of village children standing near the road.  He gave the silken bag containing the stone to the youngest child, whispering to the group, “It was not the stone, but the villagers that had performed the magic." 
Moral:  By working together, with everyone contributing what they can, a greater good is achieved.

How to Make Stone Soup
In my home, Stone Soup usually takes on the form of leftover veggies that I need to use before they turn bad.  It's a great place to dump a few stray lima beans or some fresh spinach that is hanging on for dear life.  All vegetables are welcome and all contribute in their own ways!

By its very nature, each pot of Stone Soup will take on its own character.  If you need a recipe to get started, here it is:

Stone Soup (6-8 servings)

  • 1 large, clean stone
  • 1 T vegetable oil or butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped small
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2 moons
  • 3 medium red skin potatoes, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced large
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup lima beans, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup green beans, fresh or frozen
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (or a mixture of stock and water)
  • Scrub the stone and set aside
  • Heat the oil in a large soup pot.  Saute the onions for 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for another minute.
  • Pour in the vegetable stock (and water, if using).  Add the remainder of your ingredients, including the stone.
  • Allow the soup to come to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Continue to simmer the soup until the vegetable are tender, approximately 20-30 minutes. 
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Remove the stone and serve the soup.
I hope you enjoy sharing the story and the soup with the special people in your life!

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