Nail Soup (or Stone Soup)


I made my “Nail Soup” today. Without the nail of course. It’s from the Nail Soup story, a variant of the Stone Soup tale. There is no technique to it, just chopped-up Napa Cabbage, fingerling potatoes, if-we-don’t-cook-these-they’ll-go-bad mushrooms, and a chicken breast. Oh, I forgot the corns. Oh well, add it next time. Maybe I’ll get some tofu on the way home tomorrow. That’s what I love about it – no rules what you can put it, just whatever suits your taste. It’s a favorite with MM, since not only she enjoys for dinnertime, she can also take it to preschool with her in her mini thermos. And I love it, because it lasts us two or three meals each time I make it.

As with the majority of things I cook, I prefer to “swamp” the meat with a variety of vegetables, at least a vegetable to meat ratio of 6 to 1. I noticed long ago the meat is pretty much 80% of a typical American meal. Okay, the 80% is a number I grabbed out of the air. But I don’t think it’s far off. How many times you go into restaurant, and the menu lists some kind of meat, with sides of “vegetables”. The side dish is a tiny dish big enough for maybe 3 or 4 florets of broccoli or 5 or 6 sticks of baby carrots. Meanwhile, the “main dish” is a hunk of meat that takes center stage on the plate. Okay, there are salads. And these days, health conscious people would also order items like “wraps”. But, the “main dishes” in this country in general remain to be: meat.

Once, when I was still in school. A friend came to visit one evening and offered to cook for me, while I was doing my homework. There was a package of meat thawing on the counter, and she knew where the fridge was. Very soon, a delicious smell came from the stovetop, and soon we were ready to eat. I looked at the table, and saw that the 1 or 2 lbs of beef had been divided into 2 portions, one for her, and one for me. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I was planning to eat at least 4 meals out of it.

When you look at the minuscule amount of natural vitamins and flavonoids from plants ingested in this kind of diet, it’s very alarming. I’m not an animal activist. I’m not even a vegetarian. But I do see the need for a drastic change in the kind of diet we accept as normal. Synthetic vitamins are not enough. We need real vitamins from real food.


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