Though the folk tale of Stone Soup is told in many cultures, the story remains the same. A stranger enters a poor village looking for food. “Move on.”, the villagers respond. “Our children are starving; we have nothing to offer you.”

The stranger pulls out a pot, fills it with water, and lights a fire. He removes a smooth stone from a pouch and adds it to the water. “In that case,” he says, “I’ll make stone soup to share with you all.”

The villagers, drawn by the offer of food, leave their houses and gather around the man as the water boils. He tastes the broth and says, “Quite delicious stone soup. If only I had some seasoning to go with it.”

One of the women offers up some salt and pepper. “Nothing is better than stone soup with cabbage,” the man says, tasting the soup again. Another villager produces a head of cabbage, which the man adds to the pot.

“A bit of salt beef would make this soup fit for a king,” the stranger adds. And the village butcher finds some salt beef for the soup.

On and on it goes, the stranger asking for ingredients and the villagers contributing: potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms. Each has something small to give. By the end, there is plenty of food for all to share.

At Stone Soup Café, we agree that the secret ingredient isn’t what goes in to the pot, but the community around it. We offer wholesome cooking with fresh ingredients in Cooper Young, neighbors supporting neighbors. It’s where we live; it’s where we work; it’s where we eat.