This pot of soup has been cooking for 45 years
In olde England (or even before it was called England) the ‘pubs’ and inns would call it a “bowl of brown’— a sort of soup or stew with very little meat in it.
Sold by the bowl, the way it was made was in a huge pot or cauldron over the fire that was simply constantly added to, day after day, never really emptied and just more ingredients added.
Sometimes the customer themselves would have killed a rabbit to throw in it, if he was lucky or a few vegetables. The consistency varied and was usually mostly broth or gravy like.
This was something even the poorest travelers could afford.
In todays age the food safety-minded among us would throw away leftovers after just three to four days.
But Wattana Panich in Bangkok cooks by a different set of rules, thoes of days gone by.
“For 45 years, the broth of our soup has never been thrown away after a day’s cooking,” says Nattapong Kaweenuntawong, who tends his beef noodle soup, called neua tune, with his mother and wife, the site Great Big Story reports.
“The broth has been preserved and cooked for 45 years,” he says.
Kaweenuntawong adds that the 45-year-old broth has “a unique flavor and aroma” thanks to his unconventional cooking method. “We have kept the broth overnight, and then used it to cook the next day’s soup,” he says.
This restaurants specialty includes stewed beef, sliced beef, meatballs, tripe, internal organs served on rice noodles.
But it’s the beefy broth base that’s “most important,” says Kaweenuntawong.
The concept of a never-ending soup is certainly not novel. “Perpetual stew,” also called “hunter’s pot,” refers to the practice of keeping a pot of soup slowly simmering at all times, wherein ingredients, such as meats, vegetables and liquids are replenished but never ibinned.
But is it safe? Historically, sure. Generally the pots are almost fully depleted by the end of a cycle, so only some broth base will be left to start another batch. This leftover soup then helps flavor the next pot.
A New York Times article from 1981 talks about Prager which refers to a “pot-au-feu” in Normandy, it had reportedly been burning for 300 years and another one in Perpignan that began in the 1400s but didn’t survive World War II.
Indeed, Wattana Panich may not even be the oldest soup on Earth, but Kaweenuntawong hopes they’ll come close.
“I am the third generation, and we have three children,” he says. “I hope there will be the fourth generation to run the business.”