As you step through the doorway of the warehouse, you can see chefs' coats float by on a wave of excitement and hear sounds of hot-plate burners flaming. Someone scolds someone else about chilling the crème fraîche, and the scent of rich chicken broth assaults your nostrils before you see the light, airy Matzo balls floating to the surfaces of a hundred tiny bowls at the Flying Star booth. It's just one small scene from the "Souper Bowl," the Roadrunner Food Bank's signature benefit to help raise funds for New Mexico's hungry.
Soup experts believe that the delicious substance has existed since the development of pottery about 10,000 years ago. It has appeared in diets in prehistoric societies and in cultures on every inhabited continent around the world. A couple examples include Amazonian tribes who used turtle shells to boil their special version of turtle-entrail soup, and according to Greek historian Herodotus, the Scythians, who lived in Eurasia from approximately 800 to 400 B.C. and boiled animal flesh in water over bone fires.
"Sopa de Pedra" is a Portuguese fable about travelers who come to a village with an empty pot. Villagers will not give the strange men food, so the travelers fill their pot with water and a stone, which they cook over a fire in the village square. When curious villagers ask what they're doing, the travelers say they're making "stone soup," and ask the villagers to contribute. Villagers are able to offer different elements and in completion, by appealing to the people's desire to help and be a part of something successful, starting with nothing, the travelers and villagers have made a pot of soup for all to enjoy. The events of the stone soup fable supposedly took place in Almeirim, Portugal, where today most of the town's restaurants serve sopa de pedra.
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