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. In varying traditions, the stone has been replaced with other common inedible objects, and therefore the fable is also known as axe soup, button soup, nail soup, and wood soup.
Some travelers 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 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. The villager hands them a little bit of seasoning. More and more villagers walk by, each adding another ingredient. 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.
In the Aarne-Thompson-Uther folktale classification system this tale and set of variants is type 1548.
There are many examples of projects referencing the "Stone Soup" story's theme of making something significant by accumulating lots of small contributions. Examples include:
The film Fandango (1985) contains a wedding sequence towards the end which builds on the Stone Soup theme. The protagonists need to hold a wedding ceremony, but they lack any funds to do so. Therefore, they set up a folding card table by the main street of a sleepy Texas town, dust it off, and invite passersby to come to the wedding. As they concoct stories of delinquent caterers and crashed champagne trucks, the friendly townspeople contribute their time and resources, the result being a magical wedding ceremony.
William Butler Yeats' play, The Pot of Broth (1904), tells a version of the story in which a clever Irish tramp uses his wits to swindle a shrewish medieval housewife out of her dinner.
The story is the basis of Marcia Brown's 1947 children's book, Stone Soup (1947),which features soldiers tricking miserly villagers into cooking them a feast. The book was a Caldecott Honor book in 1948 and was read aloud by the Captain (played by Bob Keeshan) on an early episode of Captain Kangaroo in the 1950s, as well as at least once in the 1960s or early 1970s.
In 1965, Gordon R. Dickson published a short story called "Soupstone", where a headstrong pilot is sent to solve a problem on a planet under the guise of a highly educated and competent official. He succeeds by pretending to understand everything, but actually merely making the locals apply their already present knowledge and abilities to the task.
"Stone Soup" (1968),written by Ann McGovern and illustrated by Nola Langner, tells the story of a little old lady and a hungry young man at the door asking for food, and how he tricks her into making stone soup.
In 1975, Walt Disney Productions published a Wonderful World of Reading book titled Button Soup. Daisy Duck tricks Scrooge McDuck to share his food to help flavor her Button Soup.
Canadian children's author Aubrey Davis adapted the story to a Jewish context in his book Bone Button Borscht (1996). According to Davis, he wrote the story when he was unable to find a story that he liked for a Hanukkah reading.Barbara Budd's narration of Bone Button Borscht traditionally airs across Canada on CBC Radio One's As It Happens , on the first day of Hanukkah.
Jon J. Muth's children's book based on the story, also called Stone Soup (2003),is set in China, as is Ying Chang's The Real Story of Stone Soup (2007).
Shel Silverstein's song, "The Wonderful Soup Stone", tells a version of this story. Bobby Bare included the song on his album Lullabys, Legends and Lies (1973).and Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show included the song on their album Belly Up! (1973).
A version of the tale written by Tom Chapin and John Forster appears on Chapin's album Mother Earth (1990).
A contemporary twist on "nail soup" helps relieve real-world iron deficiency anemia in Cambodia. The Lucky Iron Fish is a cast iron bar in the shape of the "Try Kantrop" fish that many villagers consider lucky. When immersed into a simmering pot of soup, enough of the iron dissolves into the liquid to add the critical amounts of a trace nutrient needed to prevent certain types of anemia.
US Army General George S. Patton referred to the "rock soup method" of acquiring resources for attacks in the face of official disapproval by his superiors for offensive operations. In the military context, he sent units forward, ostensibly on reconnaissance missions, to later reinforce them when resistance was met, and these missions eventually turned small scale probes into all out attacks; he notably did this during the Battle of Sicily, in the advance on Palermo, and again in the campaign in northwest Europe, notably near Metz when his 3rd US Army was officially halted during Operation Market Garden.
The big pool at Karl Johan street in Oslo, funded by the steel company Christiania Spigerverk ("Christiania Nail Factory"), is nicknamed Spikersuppa ("Nail Soup") as a humorous reference to the story.
Cantonese cuisine or more accurately, Guangdong cuisine, also known as Yue cuisine (粵菜) refers to the cuisine of the Guangdong province of China. "Cantonese" specifically refers to only Guangzhou or the language known as Cantonese associated with it, but people generally refer to "Cantonese cuisine" to all the cooking styles of the speakers of Yue Chinese languages from within Guangdong. The Teochew cuisine and Hakka cuisine of Guangdong are considered their own styles, as is neighboring Guangxi's cuisine despite also being considered culturally Cantonese. It is one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of Chinese cuisine. Its prominence outside China is due to the large number of Cantonese emigrants. Chefs trained in Cantonese cuisine are highly sought after throughout China. Until the late 20th century, most Chinese restaurants in the West served largely Cantonese dishes.
Vietnamese cuisine encompasses the foods and beverages of Vietnam, and features a combination of five fundamental tastes in overall meals. Each Vietnamese dish has a distinctive flavor which reflects one or more of these elements. Common ingredients include shrimp paste, fish sauce, bean sauce, rice, fresh herbs, fruit and vegetables. French cuisine has also had a major influence due to the French colonization of Vietnam. Vietnamese recipes use lemongrass, ginger, mint, Vietnamese mint, long coriander, Saigon cinnamon, bird's eye chili, lime, and Thai basil leaves. Traditional Vietnamese cooking is greatly admired for its fresh ingredients, minimal use of dairy and oil, complementary textures, and reliance on herbs and vegetables. It is also low in sugar and is almost always naturally gluten-free, as many of the dishes are made with rice noodles, rice papers and rice flour instead of wheat. With the balance between fresh herbs and meats and a selective use of spices to reach a fine taste, Vietnamese food is considered one of the healthiest cuisines worldwide.
Ramen is a Japanese dish with a translation of "pulled noodles". It consists of Chinese wheat noodles served in a meat or (occasionally) fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso, and uses toppings such as sliced pork, nori, menma, and scallions. Nearly every region in Japan has its own variation of ramen, such as the tonkotsuramen of Kyushu and the misoramen of Hokkaido. Mazemen is the name of a ramen dish that is not served in a soup, but rather with a sauce, like noodles that are served with a sweet and sour sauce.
Oden is a type of nabemono, consisting of several ingredients such as boiled eggs, daikon, konjac, and processed fishcakes stewed in a light, soy-flavored dashi broth.
Borscht is a sour soup common in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. In English, the word "borscht" is most often associated with the soup's variant of Ukrainian origin, one of the most famous dishes of Ukrainian cuisine, made with beetroots as one of the main ingredients, which give the dish its distinctive red color. The same name, however, is also used for a wide selection of sour-tasting soups without beetroots, such as sorrel-based green borscht, rye-based white borscht and cabbage borscht.
Laksa is a spicy noodle soup popular in the Peranakan cuisine of Southeast Asia. Laksa consists of thick wheat noodles or rice vermicelli with chicken, prawn or fish, served in spicy soup based on either rich and spicy curry coconut milk or on sour asam. Laksa is found in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Southern Thailand.
Russian cuisine is a collection of the different cooking traditions of the Russian people. The cuisine is diverse, with Northern and Eastern European, Caucasian, Central Asian, Siberian, and East Asian influences. Russian cuisine derives its varied character from the vast and multi-ethnic expanse of Russia. Its foundations were laid by the peasant food of the rural population in an often harsh climate, with a combination of plentiful fish, pork, poultry, caviar, mushrooms, berries, and honey. Crops of rye, wheat, barley and millet provided the ingredients for a plethora of breads, pancakes, pies, cereals, beer and vodka. Soups and stews are centered on seasonal or storable produce, fish and meats. Such food remained the staple for the vast majority of Russians well into the 20th century. Soviet cuisine had a separate character of its own.
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Mulligan stew is a type of stew said to have been prepared by American hobos in camps in the early 1900s.
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Crossing-the-bridge noodles is a rice noodle soup from Yunnan province, China. It is one of the most well-known dishes in Yunnan cuisine.
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Malatang is a common type of Chinese street food. It originated in Sichuan, but it differs mainly from the Sichuanese version in that the Sichuanese version is more similar to what in northern China would be described as hot pot.
Acquacotta is a hot broth-based bread soup in Italian cuisine that was originally a peasant food. Its preparation and consumption dates back to ancient history, and it originated in the coastal area known as the Maremma in southern Tuscany and northern Lazio. The dish was invented in part as a means to make hardened, stale bread edible. In contemporary times, ingredients can vary, and additional ingredients are sometimes used. Variations of the dish include aquacotta con funghi and aquacotta con peperoni.
Hot and sour soup is a variety of soups from several Asian culinary traditions. In all cases, the soup contains ingredients to make it both spicy and sour.
Hot pot or hotpot also known as soup-food or steamboat, is a Chinese cooking method, prepared with a simmering pot of soup stock at the dining table, containing a variety of East Asian foodstuffs and ingredients.
Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine is an assortment of cooking traditions that developed among the Jews of Eastern, Central, Western, Northern, and Southern Europe, and their diaspora mainly concentrated in North America and other Western countries. Ashkenazi Jews have also been known as Western Jews. Jews of the Ashkenazi communities cook foods that were often unique to their community, while often using local ingredients, and following the laws of kashrut. The cuisine is based largely on ingredients that were affordable for the historically poor Ashkenazi Jewish community of Europe, often composed of ingredients that were readily available in Europe and affordable and which were perceived to be less desirable and rarely used by their gentile neighbors, such as brisket, chicken liver, and artichokes, among other ingredients. As Ashkenazi Jews were typicall forbidden to grow crops in their home countries in Europe, their cuisine reflects that and there are less vegetable-focused dishes in Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine compared to their Sephardi and Mizrahi counterparts. Meat is ritually slaughtered in the shehita process, and is soaked and salted. Meat dishes are a prominent feature of sabbath, festival, and celebratory meals. Braised meats such as brisket feature heavily, as do root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and parsnips which are used in such dishes as latkes, matzo ball soup, and tzimmes. Cooked, stuffed and baked vegetables such as stuffed cabbage are central to the cuisine. Due to the lack of availability of olive oil and other fats traditionally used in Jewish cooking, fat from leftover chicken and goose skins (gribenes) called schmaltz is traditionally used in fleishig (meat) dishes, while butter is traditionally used in milchig (dairy) dishes.
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