I have been passionate about stories and food since I was a little girl, and Stone Soup has been my favorite story for as long as I can remember. There has been many variations over the years but this version in particular lends itself to some fantastic Creative Kids activities.
The Stone Soup Story
by: Author Unknown, Source Unknown
Many years ago three soldiers, hungry and weary of battle, came upon a small village. The villagers, suffering a meager harvest and the many years of war, quickly hid what little they had to eat and met the three at the village square, wringing their hands and bemoaning the lack of anything to eat.
The soldiers spoke quietly among themselves and the first soldier then turned to the village elders. “Your tired fields have left you nothing to share, so we will share what little we have: the secret of how to make soup from stones.”
Naturally the villagers were intrigued and soon a fire was put to the town’s greatest kettle. One solider withdrew a small cloth bag tied with ribbon, he took out a small smooth stone and dropped it into the kettle. “Now this will be a fine soup”, said the second soldier; “but a pinch of salt and some parsley would make it wonderful!”
Up jumped a villager, crying “What luck! I’ve just remembered where some has been left!” And off she ran, returning with an apronful of parsley and a turnip. As the kettle boiled on, the memory of the village improved: soon barley, carrots, beef and cream had found their way into the great pot, and a cask of wine was rolled into the square as all sat down to feast.
They ate and danced and sang well into the night, refreshed by the feast and their new-found friends. In the morning the three soldiers awoke to find the entire village standing before them. At their feet lay a satchel of the village’s best breads and cheese. “You have given us the greatest of gifts: the secret of how to make soup from stones”, said an elder, “and we shall never forget.” The third soldier turned to the crowd, and said: “There is no secret, but this is certain: it is only by sharing that we may make a feast”. And off the soldiers wandered, down the road.
This story would be a great theme for a potluck for a community or home school group or even extended family. Print out a copy of the story and send it to your guests with the request that they bring a specific ingredient for the soup pot (or bread and things to serve on the side) If you have lots of time you can all make the soup together, let it simmer while sharing the story with the kids and discussing the moral of the story. If time is short you can ask for ingredients to be brought already cooked up.
Whichever way you do it, make a show if it and involve the kids, and of course, include a (sterilized) stone of your own. The stone should be a smooth river stone. This would also make a GREAT community camping meal.
After reading the story and starting on the soup, send the kids off to create a play based on their own version of the “Stone Soup” story. Enjoy the play, and your feast together. You could send each family home with their own Soup stone, tied in a pretty little bag with guidelines for “Stone Soup”
The great thing about “Stone Soup” is it never has to be the same and it is always a surprise. You can use any combination of the following:
Liquid: Beef stock, Chicken Stock, Water, Beer, Bullion
Protein: Cooked shredded chicken, Beef (cubed and browned), Cooked Beans (kidney, black, turtle, lentils, peas, chickpeas, or any other beans you like)
Starch: Barley, Rice, Pasta.
Vegetables: Root veggies such as carrot, beets, onions, potatoes, turnips, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and yams are always good. So are celery, corn, beans and whatever else is in the veggie drawer or garden.
Seasoning: salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, bay leaf, parsley, or your family’s favorite seasoning. Don’t forget the stone!
Thickener: For a thicker soup, mix a little flour with melted butter and stir it in. Add and bring soup back to a boil. Otherwise you can puree some of the root vegetables and add to the soup.
How does your family prefer their stone soup? What do you serve with your stone soup? Please share your recipes below!