Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! One story I have been thinking about regarding giving is the story of Stone Soup. The story is an ancient narrative, and the details vary depending on which country’s version you hear. In some, the main character is a gypsy, in others, a soldier. But no matter where your version of the story is from, it goes something like this:
A traveling soldier, hungry, homeless, and with nothing to his name save creativity and a cooking pot, happened upon a village. A river wound through the countryside, bordering the village on one side. Hungry, the soldier walked down to the banks, filled his pot with river water, and placed a single stone from the riverbed into the water.
The soldier built a fire by one of the main paths to the river and began to cook his stone. The fire licked up at the bottom of the pot, heating the stone and forming tiny bubbles along the iron beneath it. As the stone began to boil, a villager traveling to the marketplace stopped to greet the soldier.
“What’s going on here?” asked the villager, eyeing the soldier’s fire and pot.
“I’m making stone soup.” The soldier glanced at the pot and frowned. “It could really use some garnish, though. Do you have any?”
The villager smiled at him and reached into his bag. “I think I have some carrots.”
He dropped a few of his carrots into the soup and wished the soldier luck before continuing on his way to the market. When the next villager stopped by, the soldier asked him for garnish as well. One by one, the villagers approached the soldier, each adding another bit of “garnish” to the soup. Eventually, the stone soup was complete, and everyone in the village was able to share it.
While there is a bit of trickery involved in getting the villagers to contribute resources to the soup, the story of stone soup is a story of community giving and sharing. Think about this during Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Soup Recipe
Last weekend my husband, Dwight, and I made our favorite winter soup. It’s not stone soup, but I think you’ll still enjoy the recipe.
You don’t have to borrow ingredients from villagers; there’s no salt, and (best of all) there’s little preparation. Just combine the ingredients in a large stockpot or crockpot, season to taste, and simmer until the flavors have melded.
2 containers liquid low-fat beef broth reduced sodium
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 – 2 packages chopped onions, depending on how well you like onions
1 small container of minced garlic
1 package frozen yellow squash, diced
1 frozen corn
1 package frozen green beans
1 package broccoli (I like to chop off the stems of the broccoli before I put it in the soup)
1 package shredded carrots
1 package frozen cauliflower (Again remove the stems)
1 package frozen peas
1 – 2 pounds of low-fat ground beef (Cooked separately and add to the soup)
Mrs. Dash No Salt Added Original Blend, salted to taste
Black pepper to taste
This recipe can be doubled or tripled and make soup for the entire winter. We package it in the freezer in small one serving glass bowls and eat it for lunch.
Making the soup can be a family activity for the holidays, and I wholeheartedly recommend both the activity of the soup making and the soup.
by Venn Crawford; recipe by Carolyn Woodruff