I figure I don’t have to explain the term ‘stone cooking’, but just in case you thought it is done in the backyard like the barbeque, I’ll just be a little superfluous and tell you this myth from way beyond the turn of the last millennium:
Back then, it was a tough time, and people had little to eat. Everyone was scrounging together the best they could lay their hands on, thinking only of those they held dearest…..
Then one day, in one of the poorest villages around moscow, a stranger arrived. People secretly looked him over, trying to assess if there was anything to get off of him. When one of the bolder kids asked him flat out, the traveler answered: "I have not food as you know it in this bag, but the stone that is in there makes a mean stone soup!"
Of course the villagers were intrigued, to say the least. They convinced the traveler to show them how this ‘stone soup’ was made. He told them they’d need a large cauldron, half filled with water, and a nice toasty fire to heat it. The village smith still had a cauldron in his workshop, and went to fetch it. Others ran off and came back with armsfull of nice and dry firewood. Together they built a campfire, and suspended the cauldron over it with a trio of long, strong poles tied together at the top. The wanderer ceremoniously pulled the stone out of his bag, and held it above his head for all to see. "That’s not magic!" called someone, and the crowd began to mutter. "May I remind you that magic itself is not visible? To all, this is an ordinary stone, yet those who have tasted its magic, it certainly isn’t!"
He concluded his oratory by solemnly placing the stone in the already lukewarm water, and had them sit down around the cauldron in a large circle. After a few minutes, the unbelievers already began to get uneasy. In order to apease them, the traveler hinted: "You know what would make the stone soup a lot nicer? some nice large carrots!" A woman ran off, and returned with four whoppers of carrots. The traveler pulled out his knife, and stood of the pot, slicing and dicing until his arms nearly fell of.
When he sat down again, the butcher next to him whispered he had a bunch of chopped up meat stashed away, for when things got tough. "That would be lovely too!" the traveler replied, and pretty soon the butcher was adding his two cents to the cauldron too. It began to become quite cosy around that fire, and a few more well-placed hints had food streaming in from all over the village. With every donation the smell of that soup had more and more people wondering what it tasted like. The wanderer kept them talking, while the soup brewed. Stories were swapped in the meantime, and bowls were organized to be able to eat the soup.
When the soup was done, the people waited in a neat line to get their share. And after they’d finished that, there even was enough for seconds, which everybody wanted. After it was all gone, the traveler lifted his now considerable cooled stone out of the cauldron, and wanted to put it in his bag. The mayor of the village stopped him however, and offered him the entire stash of taxes he’d collected over the years, just to acquire that stone for his citizens.
"So I can be filthy rich by selling you this ordinary stone?", the traveler asked. "What do you mean? The stone is magic, you said so yourself!". The traveler explained how the magic was not in the stone, but in the story woven around it. In fact the magic was in the humans who, drawn to the alleged magic of it, came up with a little magic of their own, and what little food they had left. Nothing else made them have that delicious soup!
And because I had neglected to do some shopping this week, I had to resort to stone cooking myself: Here’s the recipe for Dré’s Deep Purple Macaroni…..
(in a while, still waiting for the photo to arrive on my laptop)
– one bag of elbow macaroni
– one pot of red cabbage and apple, 350 gr.
– three medium onions
– one smoke sausage
Put on water for the macaroni, and add a bit of salt. Meanwhile dice the smoke sausage, and peel and cut the onions into parts according to your own preference. Bake the sausage first in a wok, stirring it regularly so the browning is quite even. Add the onions, and continue baking and stirring until the water for the macaroni boils. Empty the bag into the water, and stir until it is boiling again. Set the cooking clock for the 8 mins or as indicated on your macaroni, and add the red cabbage and apple to the sausage and onion mix so it can heat up too. Mix it thouroughly, so it gains a certain amount of oneness. When the eight minutes are up, taste a few elbows, to make sure you didn’t underdo it. Then drain the water, and put the mixture into the macaroni pan as well. Mix it up, and you’ll have enough to feed three of four, depending on their appetite.
Enjoy you meal,