Special post for a dear friend of mine living in a rather quaint and lovely farmhouse in Tennessee.
Showing great interest in my secret receipt for stone soup I am pleased to provide it to her and the many (lol) faithful followers of my blog.
MY SECRET RECEIPT FOR STONE SOUP
Once upon a time, all stories worth telling start with either that or “It was a dark and stormy night” so this one should tool Any way, once upon a time late in the afternoon on a day that was overcast and with a gentle breeze from the South East. Note that the wind usually came from the North West but on this day it was coming from the South East. The gentle breeze from the South East was at the old man’s back as he entered the small settlement located at the edge of the forest near the little lake fed by a brook that appeared to spring magically from the woods and meander through the meadow finding its end in the larger water.
The old man looked tired. The old man felt tired. The old man was tired, and hungry.
On his back, he had a pack, really a sack, that’s a fact. And in his pack (sack) he had a pot, rather large and very empty of anything and everything as well as something, it was well filled with nothing. He was obviously tired and probably hungry and it was after all nearing the time when most people would be supping their evening meal.
No one in the town made any effort to invite him into their home, not even an offer for a piece of bread or a cold drink of water was made and he perceived this to be a place where people were somewhat miserly and shared not at all with a stranger nor even their neighbors.
The town square boasted a little park with the small stream gently flowing through it and several trees some of which had shed some branches that were perfect for a cook fire and soon became just that as the old man having started something to make a meal went to the stream and filled his cooking vessel with water and hung it over the fire to heat.
By now some of the women of the village were keeping an eye on him as they were nosy and even some of the women who were not really nosy but rather curious were also watching what he was doing and some did not even notice yet that he was there, yet.
Those closest noticed that while he was waiting for the water to boil he was holding in his had three stones about the size of a baseball but since baseball had not yet been created the women did not know that that was the size of the stones but they were definitely smaller than a softball and bigger than a golf ball so we would be safe to say they were about the size of a baseball and in fact they were that size. They were also very smooth as if he had held them and rubbed them more than once or twice in the past but rather frequently for sure. As the water in the pot began to boil, contrary to the most held belief that a watched pot never did, the old man carefully placed the three stones into the pot and after a few minutes he produced a large spoon from his pack (sack) and began to stir the waters.
Several of the women had drawn closer to see what he was doing and they watching as he blew on a spoon partially filed with the boiling water from the pot heard him say “Ah, so good. If only I had a few potatoes, this would be the best stone soup ever.” One of the women thought to herself, not out loud, “Perhaps if I gave him some potatoes I could learn the secret of making soup from stones” and she did give him several potatoes and sat down nearby to watch him stir his stone soup.
After a few minutes he took another sip smacked his lips said ahhh and then to no one in particular he said “So good, If only I had some vegetables this would be the best stone soup I have ever made”. Naturally a neighbor of the first woman being jealous that maybe the secret of making soup from stones would become knowledge of someone other than her turned back to house and brought fort an armful of carrots, and celery, and parsnips and radishes and tomatoes which the man accepted and added to the pot of stone soup.
After a few minutes he took another sip smacked his lips said ahhh and then to no one in particular he said “So good, If only I had some salt and a little parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme this would be stone soup that would be so good the bards would of it write a rhyme. (naturally with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme what would you expect) An older lady hearing him speak thought to herself “Why I have just that and I am sure that if I brought it to the old man he would share the secret of making soup from stones” and so she ran quickly to her house nearby and returned just a s quickly with the salt, parsley, sage and you know the rest which were quickly added to the pot of stone soup.
After a few minutes he took another sip smacked his lips said ahhh and then to no one in particular he said “So good, If only I had some chicken or beef or pork maybe some of each this would surely be stone soup that would be worthy to set before a king.” Three women this time turned to their homes and returned with the thought that it was a small sacrifice to perhaps learn the secret of making soup from a stone. One woman brought two chickens ready for the pot another woman brought a large piece of beef and the last woman of course brought some, you guessed it, she brought some lamb because she did not eat pork so there and they were added to the pot and the old man stirred and stirred and …
After a few minutes he took another sip smacked his lips said ahhh and then to no one in particular he said “So good, this is the best stone soup I have ever made and would be so enjoyable if I had some friends to share it with over a bottle of wine and some beer.” Well as you can imagine by this time the men of the village were beginning to wonder where their women were and also where their supper was and overheard the old man as they approached the gathering that consisted mostly of their wives and of this one old man who stirring a large pot of something that sure smelled like it would be good along with some wine and beer which the men quickly produced and as the women set the tables with bowls and spoons everyone was soon eating the soup the old man had made from three small stone.
Soon the people were talking to each other instead of about each other and sharing the first meal they had ever had together and soon they were discussing what price they would offer the old man for the three stones that were responsible for the delicious stone soup they had just eaten. The village men made a very good offer which the old man accepted graciously as he relinquished possession of the stones and after being assured that they would prepare their stone soup exactly as the women had seen him do it and they would always have a delicious meal as a result the old man left with the gold they had given him and walked in the direction of the next village stopping for only a minute as he passed the small lake he stooped to pick up three small stones…….about the size of baseballs.