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'Lightbulb' by Ula Pomian, 12, cover of the December 2017 issue.

A note from William Rubel

The December issue is out, and it is a remarkable issue. As you see from the cover, we are continuing to expand our use of photography. What an unusual image! Ula Pomian is using her camera to focus our attention closely on something we never give much though to—the inside of a light bulb. Inspired by Ula, why not use your camera to explore unexpected aspects of the world, to show others what visually interests you? Select the images you feel are most evocative and that most clearly say what you want to say and send them to us for consideration for an issue of Stone Soup.

The December issue is our second themed issue. The theme is food. Here is what our editor, Emma, has to say about it:

This is an ambitious and unusual issue for the magazine—the first half is made up of five stories, all touching on food in some way, though sometimes obliquely—and the second half is our first Stone Soup collection of recipes. But the division is not that neat. As I read for the issue, I found stories that seemed to beg for a recipe to go with them. And so two of the recipes (“Christmas Cookies” and “Disaster Raspberry Smoothie”) actually came from the fiction pile. Of the stories that come before the recipes, what unites them, in my mind, is their sense of morality. These are stories with lessons, both stated and unstated. What can you learn from them?

As you will see, the recipe section is extensive. My colleague, Jane Levi, is the recipe editor. Jane lives in London. I was fortunate enough to be visiting her while her kitchen had become the Stone Soup Test Kitchen, and she was still testing recipes. All I can say is that each of the dishes I tasted was absolutely worth making (and eating!). A thousand thanks to those of you who sent in recipes: we will definitely be publishing more in the future, with an eye on an eventual Stone Soup Cookbook. And, a thousand thousand thanks, too, to Jane. Jane both tested the recipes—she made many of them multiple times—and also photographed them. Here is Jane’s note about the recipes from the December issue:

For the last few weeks the Stone Soup test kitchen has been filled with delicious smells, from melting cheese and savoury tomato sauce, via sweet baking rich with fruit and chocolate, to refreshing smoothies and celebratory spiced punch. Every one of these smells and tastes evokes a memory or a feeling, and each one of the recipes in the Food Issue tells a storyof family, of inventiveness, of literary inspiration, of home, of friends, or what happened the last time our writers tasted or made this or that. We’ve loved reading the recipes’ stories as well as making—and eating—every one of them, and we hope you do, too. Write and let us know the new stories they inspire as they travel from our writers’ kitchens and into yours. Let the culinary adventures begin!

After you have seen what is here in this issue I hope many of you will be inspired to send in more recipes, along with the wonderful stories that go with them and make us all want to taste and experience new things and familiar favorites alike. And if you try making any of the recipes in this month's issue please visit the website and leave a comment or send us your photos. We'd all love to know what you think!

Until Next Week


How to access the December issue

To read the entire December 2017 issue you will need to log into your Stone Soup subscriber account. If you need any help with that, please contact our customer service center on on +1 215-458-8555 or at cafsubscribe@icnfull.com, and we'll be able to help you get signed in or signed up. Subscribers can also download a PDF copy to print at home or upload to an offline device; or download our app and sign in to read their issues there. We know that there are ongoing problems with the formatting of the PDFs in our PDF archive, and this link to the new page with properly formatted PDF copies of the magazine will get you to the content in its proper form.

Non subscribers can also read stories, poems, recipes and reviews, and enjoy some of the stunning art from our contributors at our website, but only a limited number.

Remember, the December issue is also published, in full, in print, in the Stone Soup Annual, which you can find in our online store.

Holiday gifts!

The Stone Soup Annual, 370 full colour pages, containing every issue from 2017 in one volume, begins to ship to everyone who pre-ordered it this coming week. If you haven't already, order your copies now!

A digital subscription which includes the current issues of Stone Soup; over 5,000 fully-searchable pages of Stone Soup material from the past twenty years; blogs by Stone Soup writers—and more—is for sale as a stand-alone gift AND bundled with the 2017 Annual.

There are two places to stock up on Stone Soup gifts. The Stone Soup Annual 2017 plus our collection of books, journals and art prints are available at our online store. The Stone Soup Annual 2017 and all subscription packages are available via the subscriptions tab on our website.

From Stone Soup
January/February 2009

Mirror, Mirror

By Sabrina Wong, 10

Illustrated by Tiger Tam, 10

Ellie leaped from the incubator warmness of her covers to get ready for the day that lay ahead. The sun was rising and the day was still in its infancy, offering a new beginning, and new challenges. After spending some time in her closet looking for just the right combination of shirt, pants and boots, she stole one last glance at herself in her dresser mirror.

“Yep, that’ll do,” she said, putting down the wand of her Sugar & Spice brand mascara. In the mirror, she saw a stylish girl staring back at her, with streaks of sunlight in her hair and promise in her smile. She smudged her eyeliner just the right amount. It was important to fit in at school. It took some doing, but all those trips to the mall with Hailey, Drew and Shoshanna had paid off. It wasn’t easy to run with the popular crowd; everything had to be perfect. There was a price to pay for being popular, but wearing that badge came with automatic lunch buddies at a reserved table, a crowd to hang out with every Friday night and a standing invitation to all the parties from anyone who was anybody. Ellie grabbed her books and ran to catch the school bus. Once aboard, she was careful to choose whom she sat with. Of course she wouldn’t want to be seen with the wrong person.

Wow, she thought, being popular does take a lot of energy. But she smiled to herself. It was worth it.

The morning moved as slow as a watched pot, but she knew things would pick up again by lunchtime. That’s when any gossip worth hearing would bounce around the cafeteria like a ball in Brownian motion... //more

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