“This stone soup would be fit for a rich man’s table if
only we had a little beef, potatoes, carrots, or other fresh garden
vegetables to add to it.” With these words, three hungry soldiers
convince recalcitrant villagers to contribute ingredients to the soup
pot in the book Stone Soup. Their efforts turn a pot of water and a
rock into a hearty meal for the entire town.
Every year, following the reading of this charming story, the
children at Trinity Nursery School in San Carlos, California, reenact
the plot and make their own stone soup. The idea has the makings for a
children’s party at home.
Water, previously fortified with flavorful bones or canned broth by
a parent or teacher, comes to simmering. A stone (or perhaps several)
is scrubbed and dropped into the pot. Then each child scrubs, peels, or
cuts up a vegetable brought from home and adds it to the simmering
The result is a fresh, wholesome soup to enjoy for lunch with
buttered bread or crackers. For fledgling gourmets, there’s grated
parmesan cheese to add. Trinity’s Stone Soup
In a 10- to 12-quart pan, bring 4 quarts enriched chicken or beef
broth (directions follow) to boiling.
Choose several smooth, clean stones that are too large to be
mistaken for vegetables or swallowed; add to the broth.
Add in sequence, according to the cooking time, a total of 3 to 4
quarts prepared vegetables; keep broth boiling and cook, uncovered, as
Allow 30 minutes to cook chunks of peeled potatoes, carrots,
onions, parsnips, rutabagas, winter squash, turnips, or canned tomatoes.
Allow 15 minutes to cook buds of cauliflower, chunks of celery, or
scrubbed cubed Jerusalem artichokes.
Allow 10 minutes to cook stemmed and sliced green beans, buds and
peeled sliced stalks of broccoli, wedges of cabbage, kernels of corn cut
from cobs, leafy greens (such as chopped spinach or Swiss chard), or
slice summer squash.
Season soup with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls; pass Parmesan
cheese to spoon onto bowls; pass Parmesan cheese to spoon onto portions.
Makes about 6 quarts, or 24 servings of 1-cup size. Enriched chicken or
beef broth. Simmer 4 1/2 quarts canned regular-strength chicken or beef
broth with 2 to 3 pounds each bony chicken pieces and beef bones,
covered, for 3 to 4 hours. Discard bones. Chill broth, covered;
discard fat. Measure broth; if less than 4 quarts, add water; or boil
down to this amount. Or use 4 quarts rich homemade broth.