STEW COOKED FOR: 60 DAYS
June 9, 2023 - August 6, 2023
We loved you
According to Wikipedia, "a perpetual stew, also known as forever soup, hunter's pot or hunter's stew, is a pot into which whatever foodstuffs one can find is placed and cooked. the pot is never or rarely emptied all the way, and ingredients and liquid are replenished as necessary. Such foods can continue cooking for decades or longer, if properly maintained. the concept is often a common element in descriptions of medieval inns. Foods prepared in a perpetual stew have been described as being flavorful due to the manner in which the ingredients blend together."
Is the stew vegetarian? yes
Can I bring drinks? yes
Can I bring bread? yes
Can I bring my own bowl? yes
Is the stew actually good? completely depends on the day
Is the stew safe? Yeah, it should be. We keep the stew cooking at a boiling temp at all times and we also cycle (eat) the stew out throughout the week so ingredients aren't in there for too long. At the event, I stand next the the stew to vet all additions. Perpetual stews have simmered for years on end!
Is it weird if I show up alone? Nope, most people do
So you just throw in the ingredients I bring? Yes, sometimes! If it takes too long to prep and cook, we will throw it into the next batch. We recommend pre-chopping/cooking/boiling any ingredients if you'd like to see your contribution added ASAP.
June 7, 2023: I've got a potato leek simmering in the Crockpot and it feels like the first day of the rest of my life
June 8, 2023: "No YOU live in a society. I live in a Crockpot" - my stew.
June 9, 2023: I've added lentils and carrots, now, which drown out the potato leek from two days ago. As I ate, I contemplated my "stew of theseus" dilemma
June 10, 2023: All the people who say it's not "stew season" (a term I emphatically reject) haven't woken up on a Saturday morning in June to such hearthy aromas wafting through their apartment. If breakfast was this good, I can only imagine what new miracles the rest of the day will bring
June 11, 2023: It seems today that all you see is violence in movies and sex on TV. Where are those good old fashioned values on which re used to rely? Luckily I just had a stew soirée with twenty of my friends who added: 8 potatoes, 4 pieces of celery, 3 carrots, 1 cup of bean sprouts, 1 cup of rice, 1 clove of garlic, 2 onions,
June 12, 2023: Added dill that someone brought last night. Boy was that a mistake.
June 13: 2023: Looking for someone named Stew or Stu to be the guest of honor
June 14, 2023: Can't find anyone named Stew or Stu. Willing to accept a Sue. Also, my boyfriend made toast and blew a fuse in the kitchen. We didn't realize what had happened for a few minutes, but luckily the stew was still burning hot. Close call.
June 15, 2023: A day of anxious anticipation (I'd say anti-stew-pation, but I don't want anyone to think I'm anti-stew). The first public stew event is tonight.
June 16, 2023: We (David, Hajin, and I) got chef's hats and have been wearing them around and calling ourselves "the three stew-ges." The stew is pretty solid but I have some decisions to make. Last night, fifty people came to the playground and FIVE brought mushrooms. Do I put in all the mushrooms now to get it over with or do I space them out? Will be stewing on this
June 16, 2023: Keeping stew levels low. The broth is so unique and complex and yet I can't bear to eat another bite. I'm kind of sick of stew, but definitely not sick from stew. Important distinction.
June 17, 2023: The stew burned a little. The pot was set on "high" (stewpid mistake) and some of the potatoes got glued to the bottom. Hoping this adds a "toasted" or "smoky" flavor. Morale, I admit, is quite low. I saw a really good street performer playing Motown near the Delancey Essex station and asked him if he was willing to perform at stew night, but he said that at his age, gigs take the joy out of music
June 18, 2023: Another stew party today. It was the most flavorful yet. The barley and spice mix from Joanna absolutely transformed the stew, plus Faraz did Cookie Monster impression. Didn't count attendees but guessing 50ish, mostly from the neighborhood.
June 19, 2023: Thinking big. Googling things like "dunk tank rental NYC" and "price of cast iron cauldron" and "how to fill the statue of liberty's torch with stew." Stew world order!
June 20, 2023: I need to reign it in, apparently. I really wanted to have stew night but my co-con-stew-itors have informed me that the 3x/week stew party clip is "over-stew-ing it" and that I should take today off. "Fine," I said, as I stewed with feelings of both disappointement and relief. No stew party tonight!! But I assure you that the stew IS cooking.
June 21, 2023: It's Stew York City baby. I was at the grocery store and a girl in the broth aisle looked at me and said "are you stew girl?" My heart nearly lept out of my chest. I'm used ot being Wikipedia Girl, and as much as I love the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, I'm thrilled to be something else, if only just for a while. I AM Stew Girl!
June 22, 2023: The 10-quart pre-seasoned cast iron cauldron I ordered from Walmart.com was supposed to come today. It didn't come. Wanna know what did come? A twin size box spring. I'm on hold with Walmart customer service (truly one of the least enjoyable tasks imaginable) and the only thing holding me together is the tantalizing waft of stew that just came from the kitchen.
June 23, 2023: Added a ton of sweet potato. Initially, this terrified me. Didn't want another dill situation. But I'm feeling tentatively optimistic.
June 24, 2023: Cauldron came in the mail today. "This one's heavy!" said the delivery guy. I invited him to stew night.
June 25, 2023: Delivery guy didn't show up, but about fifty new friends did. One guy even had six servings, a stew night record! Someone else brought bird's eye chili (50,000-100,00 Scoville Units) which we decided were too spicy to throw in the pot
June 26, 2023: Still no Stu or Stew leads. Please text your uncles or visit your local Home Depot to help find our guest of honor
June 27, 2023: Some new ingredients had their stew debut: endives and cascatelli, a pasta shape invented in 2019 designed for prime sauce holdability! Can it hold stew, however? Tune in this Sunday to find out.
June 28, 2023: Woke up to a Google Alert about the article in Eater called "This Woman Has Been Cooking a Stew for Weeks and is Inviting New Yorkers to Join." Mid-week joke to brighten everyone's hump day: What does a duck like to eat with stew? quackers!
June 29, 2023: Stew merch has arrived!!!!!! I ordered tote bags and t-shirts with perpetual stew on them. They'll be for sale at the next stew night! My goal is to make back the money I spent on that massive cast iron cauldron. In stew news, there are tomatoes in it right now.
June 30, 2023: a few people have brought turnips and radishes, both vegetables I'm afraid of. Well, today I decided to face my fears. And believe it or not, they're not that bad
July 1, 2023: Big stew prep day. Fridge is full of add-ins for tomorrow. Saranghina Bakery donated some bread and it's REALLY GOOD
July 2, 2023: Stew tonight is cancelled due to thunderstorms. Over here in the situation room, the three stew-ges have been deliberating over the situation. And as much as I want to listen to the little voice in my head saying "but rain is just more broth!" I also don't want to soak these tote bags I ordered
July 3, 2023: Got the three stew-ges to help eat surplus stew we couldn't serve yesterday. One small step for stew, one giant step for stew-kind.
July 4, 2023: Today is technically Independence Day in America, but it's more "Day Before Stew" day to me. On this day in 1850, President Zachary Taylor consumed way too much iced milk and cherries at a party and died five days later. He really should have had perpetual stew.
July 5, 2023: Stew day! I've been telling everyone to come. Last night I met some of my boyfriend's friends at a bar and they asked me if I was going to start a stew restaurant. It was fun to imagine for about five seconds (re-stew-rant) but then I remembered that I can barely do my own taxes (I didn't submit them until this month, which is three months late). Anyway, it's gonna be 88 degrees tonight and I really hope someone brings watermelon. As a side, not for the stew.
July 6, 2023: Last night we stewed in the heat and we had our first guest of honor, Stu! The preparation was pretty gnarly (David and Hajin called a "drill sergeant," something I haven't heard since my past life as a pilates instructor). But sure enough, it was all worth it when people started arriving. I met neighbors! I met the guy who first edited Wikipedia to say Joe Biden was president-elect! I got a cool stew poster that Tessa made for a Wikipedia article about a 20th century Japanese printing product called Print Gocco! It was one of those days that made me want to use every single one of the 286 synonyms for "wow"
July 7, 2023: Do I add the rest of the beets even though they will dominate the stew? Do I dye my hair again? Do I go through the trouble of getting a new couch even though I'm only gonna be in this apartment for a few more months? Do I cancel Sunday stew night since it's supposed to rain? I'm just a 23-year-old girl and I don't have all the answers.
July 8, 2023: There is now a Business Insider article about the stew. Insider posted it on their Instagram and most of the comments, to my delight, are supportive. As the stew's story has spread, I've braced myself for critics. You know, the "that can't be safe!" and "this is so stupid" and "this perpetual stew isn't even as long as the 48-year-old one in Thailand" people. And to my surprise, there aren't very many of them
July 9, 2023: Pretty good stew today. No wonder Biblical Esau gave up his birthright for this stuff
July 10, 2023: We're seeing 90 with clear skies tomorrow! Eating hot liquid in stew-eltering heat sounds crazy but it's a thing (I promise!)
July 11, 2023: You will think you've come up with all the stew puns there could possibly be, and then you'll be on the phone telling your mom that the New York Post wrote about the stew and she'll blithely respond with something absolutely genius like "chugga chugga stew stew." Can't make this stuff up
July 12, 2023: I didn't keep track of numbers, but I think 200 people came last night. It was so busy that we ran out of bowls and some guy whose name I forgot ran to a bodega and got a stack of cups. We had another guest of honor this time, a guy named Stew. He brought us shirts that say "Stew's World," the name of his very good, semi-defunct blog. Our last guest of honor, Stu, sent a framed photo of himself. I set it by the stew and people asked if he died (he didn't, he just had other plans). Overall, stew night was so fun that I started singing "Oh what a night! late December back in '63 mid July way back in '23" to my boyfriend until he told me to stop because he "needed to focus on his crossword puzzle."
July 13, 2023: You wanna know what the media loves? Hooverville whimsy. Who knew? The stew has reached newsstands across America. ("Our Lady of Perpetual Stew" article in New York Magazine, plus others in the Washington Post, BK Reader, and the New York Post). Exciting stuff. I love living on this pale stew dot we call earth.
July 14, 2023: Have been instructed to "get a life" by people spending their Friday evening in the New York Post comments section. Just wait until they find out how much time I spend writing Wikipedia articles about obscure extinct animals
July 15, 2023: No real updates. I'm just occasionally stirring the Crockpot of broth. I wish I had some fascinating link or devastatingly clever pun for you. But no, all I have is stew.
July 16, 2023: A few people have asked if I'm going to bring the stew with me as I go around the country this fall doing Wikipedia-themed comedy shows. Absolutely not. Sorry to disappoint. On a completely separate note, if you enjoy daily dispatches about unusual culinary quests, you might enjoy the Tumblr blog called "A Month Without a Fork" by Darius Kazemi.
July 17, 2023: I've reached semantic satiation. Stew stew stew stew stew stew stew stew stew stew stew stew...
July 18, 2023: I used to spend my afternoons click clacking at a computer, eating hot chips, lying, buying $7 iced lavender lattes, living in sin. Now I spend my afternoons chopping up an eggplant and searching "how to know if a yuca root has gone bad." Everyone should spend a month continually cooking a stew, and I mean that.
July 19, 2023: I had a few drinks after stew last night, which was really fun until ten hours later, when I pulled my hungover self out of bed only to be attacked by the cruel and violent aromas of stew, stale stenches of garlic and onions and mysterious vegetables that I have to use an app to identify. I literally cried when my boyfriend brought me iced coffee and bagels, non-stew consumables that felt as valuable as those drone gift boxes in the Hunger Games. I am in the trenches of war. If anyone mutters the word "stew" in my presence I will barf in their face.
July 20, 2023: We had three people named Stu/Stew at the last stew night — so many guests of honor that we ran out of crowns. Didn't run out of stew, though.
July 21, 2023: Went to "Barbieheimer," the second most ambitious crossover of 2023 (the first is the Crockpot of broth + hundreds of crowd-sourced ingredients).
July 22, 2023: Within ten minutes of waking up, I realized that I left my passport in the Oppenheimer theatre (long story) and that the @depthsofwikipedia Instagram got "suspended" for unknown reasons. Hoping it was a fluke by Meta's horrendous whack-a-mole automated moderation, but I don't even need that account anymore. I have something else, now, and it rhymes with "shmerpetual shmoo."
July 23, 2023: Someday, I'm going to invent a pill that makes you feel easy, breezy, and unbothered by online threads full of strangers expressing vague disapproval of your perpetual stew. You won't feel like a guilty kid in the principal's office every time you read "this is how the next strain of covid will start." You'll scroll and scroll and feel nothing at all. Then, I will crush that pill, put it in a stew, and serve it at a park.
July 24, 2023: I have no updates. How is the stew? Fine. How am I? Well, I've been better. People tell me that this blog has a lot of followers. But when I turn around, no one's there. Just stew
July 25, 2023: NOAA is saying that June was Earth's hottest June on record (Coincidentally, this was the only June that I was continually cooking a stew, but I will not be exploring this further). It's headlines like these that make me want to lie in fetal position until I decompose. But instead I just sweat a little bit and repeat the futile, self-soothing mantra "well at least I vote and avoid red meat" in my head until I get distracted by other things, like ASCII snails and humming gorillas.
July 26, 2023: Took me six weeks but I finally used stew as salad dressing. Why does no one else do this?
July 27, 2023: Stew-ges David and Annie are out of town so I'm (Hajin) on solo duty for stew. I've been eating a little bit of the stew every time I miss them (I've had 4 bowls).
July 28, 2023: Annie here, logging on from Maine. I feel like such a 19th century tuberculosis patient when I say this but the seaside Maine air really has a healing quality. There are no wafts of months-old onion here. I'm considering the lobster. I'm down by the bay (literally) where the watermelon grow (not kidding). I'm making David rent kayaks so we can go to Hawaii 2 (not kidding)
July 29, 2023: This morning while I was skipping stones so forcefully that I pulled a muscle, my phone was blowing up with texts like "omg you're on NPR" and "you're discourse now." Apparently perpetual stew got a mention on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. Like I said, I didn't tune in because I was living in the moment so hard that I have shoulder pain.
July 30, 2023: According to Scottish news, HelloFresh is warning against the "TikTok trend" of perpetual stew (as far as I can tell, we're the only TikToking perpetual stew makers, so is it really a trend? but I digress). You know you're doing something right when your enemy is a union busting, vaguely-dystopian corporate meal delivery kit company that overcharges for solo spaghetti bolognese dinners. Of course HelloFresh (more like ByeFresh, am I right) isn't excited about stew that's free, independent, untethered to recipes or "the market." Well, if they have a change of heart, this is my offer to help HelloFresh plan a meal delivery kit version of perpetual stew!
July 31, 2023: I listened to the Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! episode. At 42:59, host Karen Chee reads my question: "A woman in Brooklyn has become a media sensation after blanking for 49 days and counting." The guesser guessed "orgasming" which is wrong but actually so genius. Why didn't I think of that. In other news, I stood in a garden of dill for a while today (exposure therapy).
August 1, 2023: The new month makes me kind of sad in a summer's-almost-over way. I really love Hajin and David and Peter and all stew-eaters new and old, like Stew and Stew and Stu and Stu and Stew (and all the others).
August 2, 2023: The stew made it into the esteemed "lowbrow brilliant" quadrant of the Approval Matrix. Some people spend their entire lives trying to get into that quadrant. Turns out all you have to do is make a stew for two months.
August 3, 2023: Now that the end of the stew season is in sight, HAGS takes on new, more profound meaning. Had A Good Stew.
August 4, 2023: I've been chopping onions and loudly asking "Is someone chopping onions in here?" whenever any of my roommates walk past. I can't wait to never eat a drop of stew again.
August 5, 2023: The last stew-eve. My heart is full and so is my freezer (of chopped ingredients from random citizens of New York.)
August 6, 2023: Maybe I should read a stew-logy tonight. I'm not crying because it's over, I'm crying because I'm cutting onions.
August 7, 2023: The stew is dead. Long live the stew. An Italian news crew showed up and said they'd be broadcasting the footage throughout Italy. I braced myself for backlash from the nation that's known for caring about food, but so far I haven't received any "vaffanculo, stupida ragazza" messages. I caught word that a few of stew pals made a group chat called "stew-icide boys," which warmed my heart (even though "stew-icide squad" was sitting right there). I really did make a lot of friends. If I think about it too much I'll get misty-eyed, so I won't
August 8, 2023: It's the 19 year anniversary of the Dave Matthews Band Chicago River Incident but I'm not spending this sacred anniversary at the Kinzie Bridge but in a massive Airbus A350 hurtling toward the 48-year-old perpetual stew in Bangkok (the main reason for the big trip is Wikimania but I added a detour)
August 9, 2023:
"it's mostly cumin-y water, slightly raw onions, and beans" - New York Magazine
"hardly a serious culinary exercise" - The New York Times
"Good soup" -Anton
"Amazing stew, amazing friendships" -Kat
"Stewper duper" -Nate
"STEWPER DUPER" -Allegra
"My life can be split into two distinct periods: BS (before stew) and AS (after stew) -Robby
"Epic stew (I didn't try it)" - Joan of Arca
"The stew was ̶s̶t̶e̶w̶p̶i̶d̶ tasty! Thx 4 letting me bring SALT!" -Kosha Dillz
"Astewnding event :)" -Alex
"This stew changed every aspect of my entire life." - Tessa Bury
"Stewpidly delicious" -theexoterica