Stone Soup

This holiday season, Babyman’s teachers are all about cooking.  A single recipe takes a week to produce: first, the students discuss and vote on ingredients (this spirited debate I would looooove to see; I can just imagine Babyman offering up “chocolate,” repeatedly and exclusively).  Then they go shopping, prep and, finally, cook.

Our preschool offers a project-based curriculum where the subject matter is derived from the students’ collective interest in a certain topic, e.g. Transportation, Weather/Temperature, Bears, and so on.  If that sentence sounded sort of ridiculous, please be assured that I’m right there with you.  I mean, this is a really good preschool and I have no doubt it’s a teaching method that is grounded in some major early-childhood-development research, but every week when I receive the lesson plans via email they strike me simply as hilarious and delightful.  (Did I mention that our preschool sends out lesson plans to parents via email??  Oy.)

From what I can tell, the genesis of the cooking unit was the book Stone Soup.  Here is the lesson plan for Week 1:

Monday – What types of ingredients would we like to add to our soup? Why?
Tuesday – Walk to the Farmer’s Market to get the ingredients for our soup!
Wednesday – Experience different herbs and spices to add to our soup(this was done largely by smell)
Thursday – Wash, peel, and chop our ingredients.
Friday – Mix and stir our soup and then enjoy it for snack!

Only in a food-obsessed village like San Francisco will three intrepid twenty-somethings escort 12 two-year-olds to the Farmers Market and back on Tuesday morning, procuring obscenely overpriced potatoes in the process.  The photo documentation of this lesson was fantastic and included incriminating shots of Babyman sampling carrots at the Farmer’s Market and eating spoonfuls of vegetable soup, as well as a personal favorite of him clutching a white onion while trying on plastic heart-shaped sunglasses.  Cooking with glamour: that’s my boy!

But all joking aside, I am noticing that Babyman has taken an increased interest in participating in meal prep.  This is likely due in large part to the fact that he is finally tall enough to see clear across the counter top when he is on his dragon stool, but I must also give credit where credit is due: Stone Soup.

On Sunday we attended the first of the family lineup of Christmas parties.  It was hosted by dear friends who have a ten-year-old son and an eight-year-old daughter, and together they own more matchbox cars and emergency vehicles than Babyman could possibly dream up in his wildest imagination.  Their gift to him, however, was a wooden box full of wooden fruit, cut into segments and stuck together with velcro.  The set is accompanied by a dull wooden knife and a cutting board.  For three straight days Babyman has eschewed his Thomas trains and Lightning McQueens in favor of wooden tomato sandwiches and carrot chunks…and I can only hope it’s a sign of gastronomic things to come.


  1. First of all, I love the book Stone Soup… if I'm thinking of the correct one. Secondly, I'm obsessed with child-play miniature food items. Thirdly, I'm constantly amazed that you are able to work and then come home and make such gourmet meals for Babyman. I think you need to write a how-to book.

Leave a Comment