Perpetual stew

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Perpetual stew
Cocido montañés, a Cantabrian version of perpetual stew
Alternative namesHunter's pot, hunter's stew

A perpetual stew, also known as forever soup, hunter's pot[1][2] 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.[1][3] 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,[4] in which the flavor may improve with age.[5][self-published source]


Perpetual stews were common in medieval cuisine, often as pottage or pot-au-feu:

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.

Between August 2014 and April 2015, a New York restaurant served broth from the same perpetual stew (a master stock) for over eight months.[6][7]

Wattana Panich restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand, has continued to maintain the broth from the same perpetual stew for over 47 years (as of 2022).[8]

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.[9]


Various ingredients can be used in a perpetual stew, such as root vegetables and tubers (onion, carrot, garlic, parsnip, turnip, etc.) and various meats and game meats.[3][5]

In popular culture[edit]

William Gibson references a perpetual stew served on the Bridge in his novel Idoru.[10]

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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Slabbert, Joan (2005). Bwana Kakuli. Trafford Publishing. pp. 76–77. ISBN 1412061563.
  2. ^ Fitzpatrick, Sir Percy (1907). Jock of the Bushveld. Longmans, Green and Company. pp. 79–80.
  3. ^ a b "Perpetual stew". Florence, Alabama: Times Daily. Associated Press. May 3, 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  4. ^ a b Food in History, by Reay Tannahill. New York: Crown Publishers, 1989. ISBN 0-517-57186-2.
  5. ^ a b Henwood, Rodney (2013). Game Ranger. Author House. p. 105. ISBN 978-1491875698.
  6. ^ Kravitz, Melissa (26 January 2015). "It's alive! Chef David Santos' stew never stops evolving at Luoro". AM New York. Archived from the original on 5 February 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  7. ^ Sterling, Justine (28 January 2015). "Why You Shouldn't Be Terrified of This Never-Ending Stew". Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  8. ^ GreatBigStory (19 July 2019). "This Soup Has Been Simmering for 45 Years". YouTube. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  9. ^ Prager, Arthur (1981). "From, A Pot-Au-Feu, Many Happy Returns". New York Times.
  10. ^ "50-year old pot of soup in Hong Kong? - Restaurants - China". 5 April 2007.