Everybody, I hope, has heard the story of stone soup.
The story is the one in which everybody in the village or wherever is getting pretty hungry because no one's crops did very well that year. One day, random-lady-A starts telling everyone how she is going to make an old family recipe called stone soup. Stone soup is this wonderful concoction her great-great-great grandmother created. It never comes out quite the same way twice because you just throw in a little of whatever you happen to have on hand but it invariably comes out as a wonderfully flavorful dish that everyone enjoys.
Well, as the story goes on, all these neighbors she has been talking to start salivating and, soon enough, everyone around has a hankerin' to try this stone soup stuff. One by one the neighbors start to surreptitiously show up at the house as she cooks. Each of them, as they arrive, just happens to have something with them to add to the soup. One person has carrots, another some broccoli. Hank, from down the way, brought a rabbit that he had caught earlier that day. I like to think that the chef of our story breathed out a heavy sigh of relief when, finally, Delores comes in with a couple heads of garlic...
Obviously, as each person comes in the house, another ingredient is added to the pot. Everyone is being social and the excitement over the soup continues to grow. In time, this glorious soup takes a shape spiced by friendship and flavored with love. Everyone gets to have some and, more importantly, everybody leaves full and more than satisfied. Hank even gets to take some home for his dog.
The moral of the story as I understand it is not, as some of you may think, that a woman with a rock and a well gets to eat for free. Rather, it comes down, basically, to the fact that there is wealth to be found in friendship and that love and camaraderie is enough to sustain us.
I don't know exactly how I feel about all that but I was afforded the opportunity earlier today to create and serve a communal meal.
It was pretty neat to get to take ingredients from different households and combine them to make a meal to share amongst a group. Each of us added something to the concoction and, when everything was said and done, all of us got to share a delicious meal with friends where everyone was able to contribute.
It was fun.
I look forward to doing communal meals again in the future and I will let y'all know how it comes together.
Cooking is like making love, you do it well, or you do not do it as all.
-Harriet van Horne-
Note to readers... I am aware of the fact that there are dozens of versions of the story of stone soup. I have read some involving a soldier or even a small group of soldiers. I even remember one from when I was a kid where the chef in the story was a hen. In my world, it was the same Little Led Hen who baked bread all by her self in an effort to teach the other farm animals not to be lazy bastards.