|Alternative names||Hunter's pot, hunter's stew|
A perpetual stew, also known as forever soup, hunter's pot or hunter's stew, is a pot into which whatever 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. 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, in which the flavor may improve with age.[self-published source]
Bread, water or ale, and a companaticum ('that which goes with the bread') from the cauldron, the original stockpot or pot-au-feu that provided an ever-changing broth enriched daily with whatever was available. The cauldron was rarely emptied out except in preparation for the meatless weeks of Lent, so that while a hare, hen or pigeon would give it a fine, meaty flavour, the taste of salted pork or cabbage would linger for days, even weeks.
One batch of pot-au-feu was maintained as a perpetual stew in Perpignan from the 15th century until World War II, when it ran out of ingredients to keep the stew going due to the German occupation.
In popular culture
In A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, Arya eats from an inn serving a perpetual stew, into which she contributes a pigeon, while living in the slums of Kings Landing after the actions of A Game of Thrones.
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