Recipe: Time to be stewing up friendship, by David Theiss |

Recipe: Time to be stewing up friendship, by David Theiss

David Theiss
Friendship stew is meant to enjoy in the company of friends.

Phew! It’s over! That political season really took it out of us, and not in a good way. Tensions were high, tempers were tested, nary a good word said by any; I, for one, am glad it’s over.

I got to thinking how we all depend on each other in this world. I believe it’s better to be kind to one another and help each other out; enjoy your neighbor, your friend, your family. If your feelings of anger and resentment toward your fellow human being are at an all-time high, I have a culinary solution you might enjoy.

Years ago, I remember a tradition of giving friendship bread as a kind gesture to your neighbor. It encouraged good will from the person making and giving it to the person receiving it. It also encourages us to do the same for another person and so on.

With the invention of baking powder in 1855, this gesture was made much easier, and Friendship Cakes were given instead of bread. In the 1970s, the Amish had brought back the tradition and changed it to bread called Herman Friendship Bread. It was kind of like a baking chain letter, and was to promote unity in a divided world. Studies show people in every culture like to share things they have invested their time in. It’s the notion of giving something of yourself. Cesar Chavez is quoted as saying: “If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with them. The people who give you their food give you their heart.”

Today I’m suggesting a simple recipe I’m calling Friendship Stew. Along the lines of Friendship Bread, it’s made to share and enjoy the company of friends. Everyone loves a hot meal they didn’t have to make; made from simple ingredients, and little work, but watch the smiles and appreciation you’ll get when you make one for someone.

John F. Kennedy said: “So let us not be blind to our differences but let us also direct attention to our common interests and the means by which those differences can be resolved, and if we cannot end now our differences at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. We all inhabit the same planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures.”

Friendship Stew


1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, not drained

1 cup water

3 tablespoons quick cooking Tapioca (find it in the pudding section)

1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 pounds lean beef stew, 1-inch cubes

3 medium carrots, 1/2-inch pieces

3 celery sticks cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3 potatoes peeled and 3/4-inch cubes

Medium onion, chopped to small chunks

In a 3-quart baking dish, combine all ingredients. Mix well, cover and bake for 2 1/2 hours at 375 degrees or until meat and vegetables are tender. If you’re preparing this for someone else, consider baking in a disposable foil baking pan; that way, you don’t lose your baking dish when you send them home with leftovers. And grease to the foil before mixing ingredients. This is also a gluten-free recipe.

Remember what we all have in common, which can bring us together in difficult times. May you have a peaceful holiday season, and share some food with your loved ones!

David Theiss is the owner of Butler Gourmet Meats serving Carson City since 1973.