Tuesday, November 29, 2011
I first heard the story of stone soup in the second grade where it immediately became one of my favorite stories to read. Probably also due to hearing the story of soup making right before lunch, I had an unbreakable association with the word “soup” to “stones” as during recess I eyed every rock around the playground wondering how tasty it would make my bowl of soup. On the other hand, after reading the book to Atticus for the first time last year, there was not the association to stones but he was definitely hungry at the end since he remarked, “One day can we make stone soup? But how about we add cookies. And don't put in the stones.”
When Stone Soup Café opened in our neighborhood Cooper-Young about two months ago and actually served their own version of stone soup, the kid in me filled with excitement, and I discovered that the word association was still rather strong. (I’m not sure if the owners know how brilliant the hunger-inducing name actually is.) Since Atticus and I haven’t gotten around to making our own stone soup, he was the perfect lunch date to try the family friendly restaurant for the first time. We also made sure to bring his copy of Marcia Brown’s Stone Soup to read and induce further hunger while we waited for our order.
As a complimentary starter, our server brought out two cubes of steaming hot cornbread, the best cornbread I’ve ever tasted. Truly. I only had one small bite of mine before I noticed Atticus had quickly devoured his cornbread and was literally an inch from my cornbread about to devour it too. I sadly gave my piece to him knowing a large bowl of stone soup and a stuffed tomato salad was on its way.
The very meaty and chunky stone soup finally came, quite the delicious eye full. The Stone Soup Café version is made from a light tomato base with ground meat, smoked sausage, cabbage, onions, celery, peppers, carrots, and kidney beans topped with sour cream and black olives. With so many vegetables many kids don’t like, I was nervous about Atticus’ reaction to his first taste. Sure enough, he was done after that first bite and wanted just a bowl of grits and bacon which left me with a very hearty meal to finish. I almost regretted ordering the stuffed tomato with chicken salad but I’m glad I got to try it. It was perfect to take home and eat as leftovers.
We later got to meet the manager Troy who showed us the special upstairs dining rooms and even helped with some of the food shots. He was nice enough to answer our questions including Atticus’ one question on his mind the entire time. “Do you really put stones in your stone soup?”
The answer is no but the restaurant did suggest that they do put love in their food stating on their door that “food is love” and that the story of stone soup that inspired the restaurant concept is about community - contributing just a little to the pot makes something wonderful and hearty we can all enjoy.
Stone Soup Cafe
993 S Cooper
Memphis, TN 38104
Photos by Sophorn.