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What type of rock to use in stone soup?

My son would like to make stone soup for a get together he is having. Does anyone have any idea about what type of rock might be best to actually boil in a soup? Are there any rocks that could impart good flavor? Are there rocks that should not be used? Any information will be greatly appreciated :-)


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  1. My first inclination would be one of those large, smooth river stones...that's what I imagine when I think about the stone in the story.

    I got curious and did an internet search...apparently there are recipes out there that include stones? People recommend using quartz (so it won't break down when you cook it), or boiling the stone ahead of time to clean it and make sure it will work. Anyway, this sounds really cute! Have fun!

    1 Reply
    1. re: teemo

      Thanks teemo, a river rock is what I picture too and luckily we live on a river! I did an internet search too and I just must be off today :-( so thanks for the info about quartz.

      My son is 17 and rather typically guy, so I was surprised when he asked if he could have this get together and host (his first time). It should be interesting and I hope a lot of fun.

    2. Stone soup? do you mean the gimmick used to get your friends and neighbors to contribute everything but the water?

      3 Replies
      1. re: paulj

        That would be the one! Although my son will have access to stock and what not from home ;-) Know any tasty rocks?

        1. re: just_M

          Salt is the tastiest rock, but you don't want too much of it!

          When heating rocks on a fire, for use in pit cooking or boiling water in a bark basket, you need to be careful to use rocks that will not shatter. But for this use that isn't an issue. Any clean rock will do; a smooth round one would be best. Most rocks don't dissolve fast enough to contribute any flavor.

          1. re: paulj

            Yes, salt! usually first ingredient that is noticed would make the soup so much nicer = -)

      2. Sounds fun. I wouldn't use sandstone, or limestone or shale. A well rounded granite river rock might work. I'd run it through the dishwasher first!

        1 Reply
        1. re: sueatmo

          The dishwasher is a good idea! We'll just have to see what our river has to offer :-)

        2. Had to check the calendar to make sure it wasn't April 1st, just_M. So now that others have responded, what the heck are you talking about? Stones imparting flavor? No disrespect, but I'm completely lost.

          4 Replies
            1. re: gilintx

              I had never considered that someone would not know the story of Stone Soup! I guess I should have provided a link. (Thanks paulj! ) I was raised on the starving soldiers coming back in winter and eventually conning a community into a communal meal.

              Since my son is going to make stone soup I just wondered if there were any tasty or unsafe rocks

              1. re: just_M

                I also never thought of stone soup actually containing a stone--when people make it nowadays, anyway.

                It will probably be safer than axe soup ;)

                1. re: guilty

                  Me too - never thought of stone soup actually having any stones in it. Just whatever you can come up with - and sometimes it is actually tasty.

            2. A friend's grandson's class just made stone soup--each child was asked to bring a favorite veggie. He brought Brussels sprouts and reported that he was the only one who brought that vegetable, go figure! There were apparently lots of carrots in the soup.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Erika L

                That reminds me of when my son was in kindergarten, he attended a Waldorff charter school. Every Thursday all the children would knead there own personal mini loaf of bread ( I think they helped make the dough too) anyway they were then taken to the cafeteria for chilling and the next day brought back to the class room for baking. On Friday each child brought a vegetable and they made soup and baked bread. Man that was an awesome school! Maybe that's where his idea to have a party like this really came from :-) Thanks for the memory. _M

              2. While in Girl Scouts (40 years ago), we routinely made "stone soup".
                We collected rocks, about the size of your fist, from creeks, thoroughly scrub them to clean. The rocks and water we're first into the pot. 20 mins later we added celery/onion and later on added potatoes/carrots, etc.
                I don't know what nutrients are derived from the rocks, but I've read potassium. I think it all depends on the creek and surrounding vegetation (or so I've read). 40 years ago creek water was cleaner. Make sure you're not plucking rocks from a polluted source.
                As I recall, it added some flavor to the soup. A flavor I'd describe as "earthy" and not, at all, unappealing.

                1. Apparently this is an actual traditional dish in Mexico. Its called caldo de piedra and is basically fish/seafood in a tomato based broth. Unlike the folktale, the stone actually serves a purpose which is to heat or even cook the soup. The ingredients are all placed into special heat resistant soup bowls called jicaras. Traditionally, river stones are used. River stones are heated in fire until red-hot(though the Culinary Institute of America modernizes this technique and calls for you to place clean, smooth river stones in a pan in a 500 degree oven for 2 hours. In this case, pre-cooking is involved and is used to make the soup steaming hot when serving) You then add the stone to the bowls which will then immediately cook the soup. Here is CIA's recipe:

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: PrinceZuko

                    Cooking with hot stones has been attributed (and maybe even observed) in a variety of cultures. It is one way of boiling water if you don't have fire resistant water proof containers. If you don't have metal pots, or fire hardened clay, how else do you boil water? Containers made of skin, bark, or wood can't be heated over a fire.

                  2. "Stone Soup" is a children's book from WAY back in the 50's (at least). Seem to remember it being about some tired soldiers coming into a town and people being VERY suspicious?!? They're hungry and have no food... maybe they did have the pot?? They set it on a fire, filled with water, and put in a stone. Towns people get curious and eventually come out to check things out. The soldiers start making comments like... onions or carrots or potatoes or meat would make a BETTER soup... cna people start bringing out stuff they thought soldiers would just TAKE.

                    1. Not sure of the age of your child but there is a funnier-than-stone-soup picture called bone soup. Tastier, too.

                      1. If you just go by names, the stone you ought to add is

                        BaSALT !