Stone Soup: Pre-Hispanic Way To Cook, No Pots or Pans Required

Categories: Cooking

Who says you need pots and pans to cook! As long as you know how to start a fire you can make a nice meal.

The story of stone soup may be a classic childhood tale, but another dish, caldo de piedra, in the Mexican state of Oaxaca is another story altogether.

It's a soup that goes back to pre-Hispanic times in the Chinantla region, which borders Veracruz.

“It's basically a dish cooked by men to honor women,” said Geronimo Lopez-Monascal, executive chef at Nao, the restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio, which serves a refined version of the traditional soup. “That's why it's so simple.”  

It's part of an indigenous daylong springtime celebration when women aren't supposed to cook or do any work. The men make the soup, and it is the meal for the day. 

The Origin of Stone Soup

Visit César Gachupín and Family at their Restaurante Caldo de Piedra  Address: Carretera al Tule Km 11.9 Oaxaca,Oaxaca. Telefono +52 951 517 8318

Posted by Delicias Prehispánicas y Contemporáneas. on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 

In perhaps the most traditional version of the soup, men dug a pit in the sand of a riverbank and lined it with large, edible leaves before adding chiles, vegetables and water. Then they added rocks that had been heated directly on an open fire. When the water began bubbling, the men would add freshly caught seafood from the river. All this was then served in hollowed-out gourds.

In her seminal “Oaxaca al Gusto,” Diana Kennedy described watching a small home-based restaurant add hot rocks to individual gourds filled with native shrimp, chopped tomato, onion, green chile and epazote.

“As the water bubbled furiously, a column of steam hissed upward like a geyser,” she wrote. “When the bubbling died down, the stones were removed and, believe it or not, the ingredients were cooked.”

The following video has English Subtitles:

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