All fired up

February 14, 2003|by KATE COLEMAN


There will be nine different soups at the eighth annual Potter's Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 16, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hagerstown - Bunkie Kurtz's Italian Beef Vegetable and Kathleen Stratton's Mushroom Barley among them. Sarah Emral Shaool will make chili - her culinary debut at the fund-raiser that has benefited the Community Free Clinic in Hagerstown for the past seven years.

The nonprofit clinic provides health care to individuals and families in need.

The stone soup of an old legend (see sidebar at end) will not be on the menu, but the story's message - a community coming together for the benefit of all - applies.

Last year's installment raised nearly $10,000. Even more was raised the year before, co-coordinator Carol Mendelsohn says. "Anybody that writes a check - it goes directly to the free clinic," she adds.


Homemade soups - gallons and gallons - will be served in bowls handcrafted by area potters. There are hobbyists as well as professional potters, some who've been involved since the event's beginning.

Each of the 247 ticket holders will eat soup and get to take the bowl home.

Potter Audrey Berdanier, who has lived in Hagerstown for six or seven years, has been involved with the bowl part of the Potter's Bowl for three years. She made and donated 50 bowls for last year's event, but because of a wrist fracture, she can't make any this year.

Hagerstown Community College art professor Ben Culbertson's students have rallied to fill the kilns and make the bowls.

"I'm just thrilled at how responsive the students are," he says.

"People really love being a part of it," he adds.

Many people are part of the Potter's Bowl, which started at Congregation B'nai Abraham several years ago and outgrew the Baltimore Street synagogue.

The event now is held at the larger Trinity Lutheran.

"We're full to capacity," says Vi Carlson, the church's social ministry chairman. She's recruited people from Trinity to prepare the 20 different desserts that will be served. A few of the "real fancy" ones will be auctioned, Carlson says. All proceeds go into the free clinic stone soup pot.

Co-coordinator Janet Emral Shaool says she and Mendelsohn have had only one planning meeting this year. They didn't need another. Many people take part, everyone knows what to do, and everyone knows why they do it.

The story of stone soup

The well-worn story of stone soup - French or Russian in origin - was retold and illustrated by Marcia Brown in her 1947 book.

In the tale, three tired and hungry soldiers trudging home through a strange land ask villagers for a bite to eat. The people turn them down, so the soldiers set about making a pot of "stone soup" with the only ingredients they have - water and a few stones.

They tell the villagers the soup would be so much better with carrots. Someone brings carrots. Stone soup also should have cabbage - a few potatoes, a bit of beef. So someone brings cabbage, someone brings potatoes, beef and so on. The soup is shared.

The villagers thank the soldiers, telling them they'll never go hungry because they have learned to make soup from stones.

Open raffle to benefit clinic

Although you can't get a ticket to the Potter's Bowl - tickets are sold out - you can be part of the event's "stone soup" and help the Community Free Clinic by buying a raffle ticket and a chance to win one of several items to be raffled.

Included are paintings by local artists Ben Jones and Lucy Ecker; a handmade quilt and throw; and a personalized mailbox.

Tickets cost $1 each or $5 for six, and are available in Hagerstown at books 'n' things, Longmeadow Shopping Center; Carol & Co., 25 E. Washington St.; The Country Peddler, 405 W. Franklin St.; Fahrney's Hallmark Cards and Gifts, South End Shopping Center; and Howard's Art Supplies & Frames, 1256 Dual Highway.

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