1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

January 6, 2008

:006 Make Soup

Filed under: :006 Make Soup — Tags: , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

Suggested Review – none

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

img_0142a.jpg  Peeling Onions

1:5:10:006 Tip: From the complex to the simple.

For the last few days my daily tips have required some complex explanations. Today I wanted to share an Tip that came to me as I was peeling onions for a family meal.

 For about 20 years I’ve been the designated onion peeler. It all started one year when my mother-in-law asked me to help in the kitchen. I have and use a respirator as a part of my work as an indoor air quality specialist, so it seemed logical to pop it on. Twenty years later the tear-free job of preparing the onions has remained mine.

Anyway, as I was peeling onions this year I began to contemplate the pile of wastes that was growing from each onion as I would discard the layer just under the skin. That outside layer was either blemished or a little bit too tough to use. Or was it? About that time I remembered the story of “Stone Soup”.

Anyway I saved the scraps, and it made quite a pile. Added to that were the scraps of celery from the dressing, the ends of tomatoes from the salad, potato and carrot peelings, an old wrinkled zucchini from the refrigerator ….

After the holiday meal, a lot of other scraps found their way into the pot as well.

These were all things that in previous years would have been thrown out, but this year with some water, spices and lentils for protein – It turned into a wonderful soup and a great way to reduce, reuse, and recycle.


Additional Information:

If you have a child that’s a finicky eater and you don’t think they will eat the soup – try making stone soup.  The addition of a stone often times over comes their resistance.

The Stone Soup Legend


  • water
  • 1 clean stone
  • assorted contributions

Once upon a time, somewhere in Eastern Europe, there was a great famine. People jealously hoarded whatever food they could find, hiding it even from their friends and neighbors. One day a peddler drove his wagon into a village, sold a few of his wares, and began asking questions as if he planned to stay for the night.

“There’s not a bite to eat in the whole province,” he was told. “Better keep moving on.”

“Oh, I have everything I need,” he said. “In fact, I was thinking of making some stone soup to share with all of you.” He pulled an iron cauldron from his wagon, filled it with water, and built a fire under it. Then, with great ceremony, he drew and ordinary looking stone from a velvet bag and dropped it into the water.

By now, hearing the rumor of food, most of the villagers had come to the square or watched from their windows. As the peddler sniffed the “broth” and licked his lips in anticipation, hunger began to overcome their skepticism.

“Ahhh,” the peddler said to himself rather loudly. “I do like a tasty stone soup. Of course, stone soup with cabbage, that’s hard to beat.”

A villager approached hesitantly, looked around, and pulled a small cabbage from under his coat. When he discreetly added it to the pot, the peddler beamed. “Excellent,” he cried, “You know, I once had stone soup with cabbage and a little morsel of mutton, and it was fit for a king.”

Then it was the village butcher who approached. He had a lamb bone under his apron. And so it went, some potatoes, some onions. Carrots, mushrooms, and so under. Until there finally was, indeed, a delicious meal for all. The villagers offered the peddler a great deal of money for the magic stone, but he refused to sell and traveled on the next day. And from that time on, long after the famine had ended, the villagers reminisced about the finest soup they’d ever had.


Save the stone in your refrigerator. When boiled in the pot weekly it makes the soup better every time you use it – or so I’ve been told.


Journal Entry – mmm mmm better than good.

Make a note how much food made it into the soup pot and wasn’t discarded.


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