Soup, especially chicken soup is one of those foods considered good for the soul, mind, and body, and often suggested to speed recovery after an illness. There may be more to the belief than simple folklore. It’s healing properties are what inspired the popular series of Chicken Soup for the Soul books. As Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen said “they wanted it to soothe and provide comfort, just like their grandmothers’ cooking.”
I was reminded of this when Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch dished up her flash fiction prompt this week, challenging writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about comfort food.
How could I go past soup? But what soup? Chicken soup? Pumpkin soup? Tomato soup? No, stone soup.
I’m sure you are familiar with at least one of the versions of the story Stone Soup. Basically, some hungry travellers come to a village. They cannot afford to buy food and, although they ask, the townspeople refuse to share with them. Undaunted, the travellers heat up a pot of hot water with a stone in it. They explain to the curious villagers that their “soup” would taste better with the addition of certain ingredients. Intrigued, the villagers happily provide the ingredients. When the soup is ready, the stone is removed and the travellers share the delicious and nutritious soup with the villagers.
With its messages about sharing, working together, and improving things by combined participation, it is a great story to read to and discuss with young children. It could be used to introduce a class cooking activity, such as making soup or stew, to which each child contributes an ingredient.
Although English can be confusing with its multi-meaning words and phrases that have little apparent connection to the individual words used, I think children would understand the story and realise that the stone was not eaten but removed from the soup once it had served its purpose.
I wondered how it might be interpreted if children were asked to contribute a piece of fruit to a class fruit salad.
Billy barely paused to say, “Hi, Mum,” as he tossed her a piece of paper and kept going.
The back door slammed, startling Baby. ‘In one door and out the other,” Mum said, as Dad appeared. “What’s he up to?”
Dad watched from the window as Billy took pebbles from the garden, inspected them carefully, then arranged them in neat piles.
“Strange,” said Dad. “I don’t know. He seems to be looking for something. Said they’re making fruit salad at school tomorrow.”
Mum read the note he’d tossed at her, then smiled.
“He’s to take stone fruit,” she said.
I guess if Billy contributes a stone, and the other children contribute fruit, they’ll have a delicious, nutritious, and refreshing snack to comfort them on a warm summer’s day. What do you think?
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.