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Remember the tale of Stone Soup?


Dirtyhip
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I heard a Catholic priest compare the Stone Soup story to Jesus and the miracle of the five loaves and two fish feeding 5,000 people. The priest said back in those days people carried food with them when traveling even short distances. So it was more about people sharing what they brought.

Speaking of grifters, my favorite musical is The Music Man.

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5 minutes ago, JerrySTL said:

I heard a Catholic priest compare the Stone Soup story to Jesus and the miracle of the five loaves and two fish feeding 5,000 people. The priest said back in those days people carried food with them when traveling even short distances. So it was more about people sharing what they brought.

Speaking of grifters, my favorite musical is The Music Man.

We have joked about that story recently, as I have been making stock out of things that I have tossed in freezer bags.  Wilbur gave me a tip a few years ago about how chefs even save onion skins.  I have been doing just that.  It was a very good tip.  He won't see this, but I thought it was worth a mention. We have been zero waste, except for truly icky bits.  It is impressive of how well we eat with almost zero waste.  Any icky veg waste goes into the compost bin.

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1 hour ago, Dirtyhip said:

In our family we joked about this recently.  What was the moral of this story?  Was it that people should work together, or never trust a grifter?

It could be seen either way.  

Discus.

I think the moral of the story is: don't let your curiosity get the better or you.

Or, from the soup-makers' point-of-view: you can use people's curiosity to accomplish things.

The version of the story I learned is that 3 soldiers, alone, were returning home from a war, passed through a town, begged people for food and got none.

One soldier said, "I guess we'll have to make stone soup," and the soldiers asked to borrow a pot to make it in.

The villagers, curious, lent them a pot and the soldiers selected stones and began to cook them in water.

One would taste the soup and say, "It's pretty good, but it needs a little barley," and so on until the curious villagers ended up giving them all they needed to make a soup without needing the stones.

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5 minutes ago, Page Turner said:

...I ate a lot of stoner soups back in the '70's, on the hippie organic vegetable farm. I'm kicking myself now, because the year of "The Great Oversupply of Winter Squash" (1977), I had no idea you could make soup from it, or how delicious it is.

Please tell us more about this farm.  

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...I thought I had mentioned it before, but maybe that was to Cheese, explaining how I came to be so different.  I ended up there in maybe the winter of '76-'77 or early Spring of '77. It was just outside Wyoming, MN, which is in turn, just outside Forest Lake, MN.  About 40 mils north of the Twin Cities.  I was not the farm guy exactly, which was mostly put together and run by three or four of the other people living there. It was marginal in terms of income, because as you might be aware, the growing season is only about two months long.

It was in a very old summer house, on Lynwood Lake, that had belonged to a guy who owned a vaudeville theater down in the cities.  There was a piano there that had once been played by Jimmy Durante, staying as a guest of the theater owner.  Had a small seasonal dock we put out down on the lake, and several old outbuildings, with a repair shop.  The barn was pretty cool, built on site on two levels, from cement block manufactured on site using a block mold press that was still around, gathering rust.  Small old Ford tractor and some ancient disc and cultivator, a collection f cars belonging to 6 or 8 of us, mostly wood heat, and because the septic system was so old it ran out to a cesspool instead of a leach field, we tried to mostly use an outhouse, dug out near the edge of the woods, farther from the wellhead.

 

The fields were nearby, and mostly rented from other owners, like the dairy farmer across the highway. But there was some cleared land adjacent to the house that got farmed. The rest of the 80 acres was all woods and lakefront. The food was transported and sold down at the St Paul farmers market.  My girlfriend at the time (later my second beautiful wife), grew pot, out between some tall sweet corn and the treeline.  It was terrible weed, just a step above ditchweed, because back then none of us were sophisticated plant breeders. We just used seed from the last baggie.

 

It was there I learned about the realities of winter, and discovered Garrison Keillor, and "A Prairie Home Companion".  Eventually we all went our separate ways. My wife and I ended up in East Tenn, where I got stationed after I got my first real job working fo' de gubb'mint.  Simpler times and places.  It was something I am happy to have lived through, considering how much of a stoner I was back then.  That was where I was living when I was first learning about furnace glass blowing, which I later pursued for a while down at the U, living in South Minneapolis.

Some memorable experiences were drifting a canoe along the weeds/reeds of Lynwood lake and seeing my first Rails (birds), and the Great Northern Owl that used to live in the woods, who would do a close fly by on a foggy morning on a walk to the lake, and scare the shit out of me.

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15 minutes ago, Page Turner said:

...I thought I had mentioned it before, but maybe that was to Cheese, explaining how I came to be so different.  I ended up there in maybe the winter of '76-'77 or early Spring of '77. It was just outside Wyoming, MN, which is in turn, just outside Forest Lake, MN.  About 40 mils north of the Twin Cities.  I was not the farm guy exactly, which was mostly put together and run by three or four of the other people living there. It was marginal in terms of income, because as you might be aware, the growing season is only about two months long.

It was in a very old summer house, on Lynwood Lake, that had belonged to a guy who owned a vaudeville theater down in the cities.  There was a piano there that had once been played by Jimmy Durante, staying as a guest of the theater owner.  Had a small seasonal dock we put out down on the lake, and several old outbuildings, with a repair shop.  The barn was pretty cool, built on site on two levels, from cement block manufactured on site using a block mold press that was still around, gathering rust.  Small old Ford tractor and some ancient disc and cultivator, a collection f cars belonging to 6 or 8 of us, mostly wood heat, and because the septic system was so old it ran out to a cesspool instead of a leach field, we tried to mostly use an outhouse, dug out near the edge of the woods, farther from the wellhead.

 

The fields were nearby, and mostly rented from other owners, like the dairy farmer across the highway. But there was some cleared land adjacent to the house that got farmed. The rest of the 80 acres was all woods and lakefront. The food was transported and sold down at the St Paul farmers market.  My girlfriend at the time (later my second beautiful wife), grew pot, out between some tall sweet corn and the treeline.  It was terrible weed, just a step above ditchweed, because back then none of us were sophisticated plant breeders. We just used seed from the last baggie.

 

It was there I learned about the realities of winter, and discovered Garrison Keillor, and "A Prairie Home Companion".  Eventually we all went our separate ways. My wife and I ended up in East Tenn, where I got stationed after I got my first real job working fo' de gubb'mint.  Simpler times and places.  It was something I am happy to have lived through, considering how much of a stoner I was back then.  That was where I was living when I was first learning about furnace glass blowing, which I later pursued for a while down at the U, living in South Minneapolis.

Some memorable experiences were drifting a canoe along the weeds/reeds of Lynwood lake and seeing my first Rails (birds), and the Great Northern Owl that used to live in the woods, who would do a close fly by on a foggy morning on a walk to the lake, and scare the shit out of me.

Lovely.  I have this subsciption to Mother Earth News, and they have so many great articles on homesteading and stuff like that.  I quite like that mag.  Last month there was a most amazing article on native bees.  I was inspired to keep some mason bees, but sadly I think it is too cold for them here.  I did see a big ol fat bumblebee last year, and I am actively planting all kinds of things that the bees will like.  I think that is my best option for making them come to me.  I really want to doa hive and just leave it be, like not harvest much of the honey at all.  Just have it for the bees.  I need to do more research on how to do this.   I am loving our natural environment.  I want to make a positive impact on it.  

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3 hours ago, JerrySTL said:

I heard a Catholic priest compare the Stone Soup story to Jesus and the miracle of the five loaves and two fish feeding 5,000 people. The priest said back in those days people carried food with them when traveling even short distances. So it was more about people sharing what they brought.

As presented, though, those miracle stories always seemed a grift to me, you would have to be absent your senses to believe in wine/water alchemy, bread out of thin air, and the like.  I like that priest, he seems more sensible and pragmatic, and seems to realize that overly fantastic stories lack credibility.

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Stone Soup is a European folk story in which hungry strangers convince the people of a town to each share a small amount of their food in order to make a meal that everyone enjoys, and exists as a moral regarding the value of sharing.

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3 minutes ago, jsharrwick said:

Stone Soup is a European folk story in which hungry strangers convince the people of a town to each share a small amount of their food in order to make a meal that everyone enjoys, and exists as a moral regarding the value of sharing.

I think the end of the story was a huge pot of soup that they all shared. 

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4 hours ago, JerrySTL said:

I heard a Catholic priest compare the Stone Soup story to Jesus and the miracle of the five loaves and two fish feeding 5,000 people. The priest said back in those days people carried food with them when traveling even short distances. So it was more about people sharing what they brought.

Speaking of grifters, my favorite musical is The Music Man.

Nice of him to completely misinterpret what was written.  It starts out by discounting the "they all had food with them".  Makes a nice, easy feel good story, though.

Worked for Harold Hill.

I love the stone soup story.  I see it as people just sometimes worry too much about what they have or don't have, and can't see the big picture.  The villagers didn't want to let on that they had any food, for fear of losing it.  A Wise man found a way for them to see the big picture.  Not so much just the sharing, but how, working together, they had delicious soup instead of just a pile of dry barley to eat.

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1 minute ago, 12string said:

Nice of him to completely misinterpret what was written.  Makes a nice, easy feel good story, though.

Worked for Harold Hill.

I love the stone soup story.  I see it as people just sometimes worry too much about what they have or don't have, and can't see the big picture.  The villagers didn't want to let on that they had any food, for fear of losing it.  A Wise man found a way for them to see the big picture.  Not so much just the sharing, but how, working together, they had delicious soup instead of just a pile of dry barley to eat.

The fat cat is probably yelling, "but HE ate for free!"

:D

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19 minutes ago, Dirtyhip said:

I think the end of the story was a huge pot of soup that they all shared. 

From the rest of the Wiki entry:

Some travellers come to a village, carrying nothing more than an empty cooking pot. Upon their arrival, the villagers are unwilling to share any of their food stores with the very hungry travelers. Then the travelers go to a stream and fill the pot with water, drop a large stone in it, and place it over a fire. One of the villagers becomes curious and asks what they are doing. The travelers answer that they are making "stone soup", which tastes wonderful and which they would be delighted to share with the villager, although it still needs a little bit of garnish, which they are missing, to improve the flavor.

The villager, who anticipates enjoying a share of the soup, does not mind parting with a few carrots, so these are added to the soup. Another villager walks by, inquiring about the pot, and the travelers again mention their stone soup which has not yet reached its full potential. More and more villagers walk by, each adding another ingredient, like potatoes, onions, cabbages, peas, celery, tomatoes, sweetcorn, meat (like chicken, pork and beef), milk, butter, salt and pepper. Finally, the stone (being inedible) is removed from the pot, and a delicious and nourishing pot of soup is enjoyed by travelers and villagers alike. Although the travelers have thus tricked the villagers into sharing their food with them, they have successfully transformed it into a tasty meal which they share with the donors.

 

4 hours ago, goldendesign said:

The story as I heard it was nail soup. Same premise and I hold the belief that it is about sharing with neighbors. 

Variations:

  • An Eastern European variation of the story (which is similar to the Northern European rendition) is called "axe soup", with an axe as the catalyst.[1]
  • In the French, Hungarian and Russian versions of the tale, the travelers are soldiers returning home.
  • In the Hungarian version, a single starving soldier encounters several hardships on his journey back to his homeland.[2] At the end of the story, he sells the rock to the villagers after eating the soup.
  • In Russian tradition, a soldier prepares "axe kasha" (Каша из топора). The tale ends with the soldier taking the axe when leaving, claiming he will eat it on the road.[3]
  • Johann Peter Hebel wrote a German version, "Der schlaue Pilgrim" ("The Cunning Pilgrim", 1811),[4] in which a wily pilgrim, allegedly on his way to Jerusalem, tricks a hostess step-by-step into adding rich soup ingredients to his pebble stones, finally leaving the stones uneaten.[5]
  • In Northern European and Scandinavian countries, the story is most commonly known as "nail soup", and the main character is typically a tramp looking for food and lodgings, who convinces an old woman that he will make a tasty nail soup for the both of them if she would just add a few ingredients for the garnish.[6]
  • In the Portuguese tradition, the traveler is a monk, and the story takes place around Almeirim, Portugal. Nowadays sopa de pedra is considered a regional dish of Almeirim.[7]
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Seems like the point is twofold - folks with "nothing" except imagination or guile can find a way to eat, AND folks with few resources individually can come together to create something better for all of them.  

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