This picture book is a re-telling of the old folk tale, 'Stone Soup'. This particular version is set in Mexico during the time of the Mexican Revolution. As in most versions, the villagers hide their supplies of food when they hear soldiers coming. Then the hungry soldier asks for food and is turned down. The twist here is that instead of claiming to be able to make soup out of a stone or a nail, the soldier asks for a cactus needle to make his soup with.
Soon enough, the hungry villagers are offering hidden tidbits to add to the soup. By the end of the story, there is enough food brought forth for the entire town and the soldiers to have a feast, or rather in this version, a fiesta.
The kids and I enjoyed reading this version. We sort of have a fascination with folktales and how they change a bit with time and geographical location.
It was a great day to attempt this soup at our house. A grocery shopping trip will soon be in order here, and the pickings were pretty slim. We had to substitute a few ingredients mentioned in the story (most notably ham in place of chicken) and sadly we had no cactus needle, but the end result was pretty tasty.
1/4 cup diced onion
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp canola oil
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
4 cups water
6 chicken bouillon cubes
1 cup diced, cooked ham
2 cups frozen corn
2 carrots, diced
5 or 6 mushrooms, diced
1 large sweet potato, diced
4 medium potatoes, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp chives
In large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and simmer until softened and slightly golden.
Add canned tomatoes, water, and bouillon cubes and stir well.
Add remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
Serve with tortillas or cheese quesadillas.