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 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.[1][3] 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.[4] Various ingredients can be used in a perpetual stew such as root vegetables, tubers (potatoes, yams, etc.), and various meats.[3]

Historical examples[edit]

Perpetual stews are speculated to have been 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.

A batch of pot-au-feu was claimed by one writer to be 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.[5]

Modern examples[edit]

The tradition of perpetual stew remains prevalent in South and East Asian countries. Notable examples include beef and goat noodle soup served by Wattana Panich in Bangkok, Thailand, which has been cooking for over 49 years as of 2023,[6][7] and oden broth from Otafuku in Asakusa, Japan, which has served the same broth daily since 1945.[8]

Perpetual stew served in Bushwick.

Between August 2014 and April 2015, a New York restaurant served a master stock in the style of a perpetual stew for over eight months.[9]

In July 2023, a "Perpetual Stew Club" organized by social media personality Annie Rauwerda gained headlines for holding weekly gatherings in Bushwick, Brooklyn to consume perpetual stew. Hundreds attended the event and brought their own ingredients to contribute to the stew.[10][11][12] The stew lasted for 60 days.[13]

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 Moulton, Sara (May 3, 2013). "Perpetual stew". Florence, Alabama: Times Daily. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 17 Jul 2023. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  4. ^ a b Food in History, by Reay Tannahill. New York: Crown Publishers, 1989. ISBN 0-517-57186-2.
  5. ^ Prager, Arthur (1981). "From, A Pot-Au-Feu, Many Happy Returns". New York Times.
  6. ^ GreatBigStory (19 July 2019). "This Soup Has Been Simmering for 45 Years". YouTube. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  7. ^ Descalsota, Marielle. "I tried one of the world's oldest soups, a broth that's been kept simmering for 50 years by 3 generations of a family. It's now one of my favorite restaurants in Bangkok". Insider. Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  8. ^ Mishan, Ligaya (October 20, 2017). "The Novel Taste of Old Food". New York Times. Retrieved December 11, 2022.
  9. ^ Sterling, Justine (28 January 2015). "Why You Shouldn't Be Terrified of This Never-Ending Stew". Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  10. ^ Mayorquin, Orlando (2023-07-20). "The Perpetual Stew Is More About Community Than Cuisine". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-07-20.
  11. ^ "Woman goes viral for cooking 'perpetual stew' for 40 days straight". The Independent. 2023-07-18. Retrieved 2023-07-20.
  12. ^ Avi-Yonah, Shera (2023-07-14). "This Brooklyn stew is 36 days old. The lines are around the block". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2023-07-20.
  13. ^ "Home". Retrieved 2023-08-18.