One of my favorite stories when I was growing up was Stone Soup. This is a story of how hungry strangers came to a little village and bragged to the people that they could make a delicious soup out of stones. They asked for a big pot and filled it with water. Then they brought that to a boil and added three big stones.

This old folk tale has been told to children as a lesson in cooperation and helping others.

The three pretended to smell the soup as it ‘cooked’. They danced with glee.

The people of the village gathered round and they were amazed. They couldn’t wait to try this delicious soup.

Then the three tasted it and oohed and aahed. Then one said to another, ‘You know this soup would really be better if there were some onions in it’. And one of the farmers brought some onions. Then another one said,’ No, I think it needs some carrots’. And on and on until all the villagers were adding things to the Stone Soup. Onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, chicken, ham, etc.

I love to make ‘something’ out of ‘nothing’. This was a perfect example.

Well yesterday was a very rainy day in Hawaii and I felt like making a big pot of soup. I searched in my refrigerator and freezer and this is what I came up with.

First I chopped up an onion, some celery and a carrot and sauteed that in a little oil. Then I added a piece of chicken and a ham shank that I found in my freezer.

Next came a can of diced tomatoes and a can of tomato sauce. A few cans of water, some salt, pepper and lots of thyme and now it was really starting to look like soup.

What else to add. Oh, I found a cooked potato and some leftover creamed spinach. Perfect. Now it was starting to look sort of like minestone. Better add some oregano. I had a half a bag of frozen peas/carrots/corn and I added that.

I also had a jar of homemade spaghetti sauce from the other night. I poured that in to the mix.

I think minestrone has pasta in it. Oh, here is a box of elbow macaroni. I boiled some in a separate pot, but I think you can just add pasta uncooked and it will boil in the soup.

I cooked this all day and I must say it was a really hearty supper. I served it with home made croutons made out of sour dough bread and heaps of shredded Parmesan cheese.

You can add just about anything to your soup to ‘make it your own’. Cans of beans, some green pepper, any veggies, chopped up leftover meat, chicken or ham, and if you are lucky enough to have fresh parsley and thyme on hand, be generous with those spices.

No stones. And a great way to clean out my refrigerator.