Stone Soup

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Today I saw a youtube video about making traditional stone soup in Mexico.

“Wait a minute. Stone soup’s an actual dish? I thought it was just a story!”

Well it turns out it is a real dish. From what I can tell, the “stone” part is to cook the soup. Here’s the video I saw:

Notice how at 1:28 a stone is dropped in a bowl of soup and it immediately starts bubbling everywhere. That seems pretty wild! And, if you look closely before the stone is dropped in, you can see the soup is already steaming. Hmm. So presumably the stone part isn’t the sole source of heat to cook the soup.

I’d love to know more.

Fortunately, it turns out that this is just a mini documentary and Sarah Borealis, the filmmaker, did a longer one called “The Path of Stone Soup” which I can rent from Vimeo. So I guess I’ll do that!

Here’s the trailer for the documentary:

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In trying to track down the actual stone soup recipe I came across many versions of the folk story.

What was weird to me was that none of them matched the first version I heard, at story time back in primary school.

In those I saw today it was always some traveler(s) who pulled a kind of a con, leading to a pooling of food and the creation of the dish, that everyone then ate.

However, the version I was told was about a hen who used stone soup to protect her children.

As I remember it, a fox comes to the hen’s house (!) and says “I’m hungry, I’m going to eat you and your chicks”. The hen says “You could eat me and my chicks, but I can make you a more delicious meal”. The fox is greedy and thinks that he’ll eat the meal the hen makes and then eat her and her chicks too.

The hen explains that the most important ingredient in the meal is a stone and that she is going to make stone soup. The fox is intrigued.

Of course, the hen adds lots of other ingredients to the meal (one by one, as is the tradition with children’s books) and eventually the “stone soup” is ready – now a genuine, rich, hearty soup.

The fox eats the soup and it is so delicious that instead of eating the hen and her chicks, the greedy fox decides to take the stone so he can make the delicious “stone soup” for himself. The hen and her chicks are spared and the stupid fox goes off with his prized stone.

So I guess that one will always be my version of the “stone soup” story.

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