Monday, June 28, 1943
Do you know the stone soup story? It takes many forms but the simplest is this: a stranger arrives in town claiming that he can make soup with just water, a pot, and a stone. The eager villagers gather round as he sets the water to boil and tosses in the stone. Soon he suggests the soup would be even better if it had a carrot or two. Someone runs to fetch the carrots. Next he claims it would be even more tasty if there were a few chicken bones. Some villagers oblige. By the time he’s done, the soup has potatoes, some meat, and several vegetables. As the villagers savor it, they marvel at the miracle of soup from a stone. In a more deliberate fashion, the French, forced by massive food shortages, were mastering the art of stone soup at “concrete parties”: hostesses invited guests each of whom brings an ingredient. It’s all thrown into one big pot and boiled until as thick as possible. When cold, it sets like concrete. It may not look appetizing but it fills the stomach. On the Home Front, marketers were quick to see the opportunities that would appeal to women tending Victory Gardens.