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Projects

Stone Soup

Stone SoupOpen in Lightbox
Installation of soup station in the CCA gallery prior to event
Stone SoupOpen in Lightbox
People tasting and contributing to the soup
Stone SoupOpen in Lightbox
Documenting the contributions to the soup

CCA Glasgow, 2009

Event at the CCA, Glasgow as part of This Land is Your Land. Based on a common folk tale, this event started with a just a stone, pot and basic ingredients (oil and seasoning). People were invited to bring food items that they had spare; a forgotten tin at the back of the cupboard, an unwanted pack of lentils some excess potatoes. The soup was created and served in the gallery consisting of what people brought in to add to it. All contributions were photographed and their details recorded.

The Story of Stone Soup

Once upon a time, somewhere in post-war Eastern Europe, there was a great famine in which people jealously hoarded whatever food they could find, hiding it even from their friends and neighbors. One day a wandering soldier came into a village 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 an ordinary-looking stone from a velvet bag and dropped it into the water.

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

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

Soon a villager approached hesitantly, holding a cabbage he’d retrieved from its hiding place, and added it to the pot. “Capital!” cried the soldier. “You know, I once had stone soup with cabbage and a bit of salt beef as well, and it was fit for a king.”

The village butcher managed to find some salt beef . . . and so it went, through potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and so on, until there was indeed a delicious meal for all. The villagers offered the soldier a great deal of money for the magic stone, but he refused to sell and travelled on the next day.