Stone Soup #27: Make What You Can

• 3 min read

When you don't want the thing the mold was made for

Stone Soup is an ongoing quarantine feature in which I come up with a recipe that uses the impossible thing in your cupboard, without making you go to the store or wasting any of your ingredients. Last time, we made hash.

Beth says:

A while back, the Sur la Table in our local mall was closing, and I didn't realize it until I got there to browse and drool over expensive kitchen supplies. Since things were very on sale, I grabbed a bunch of random things that I had thought about buying before, but couldn't justify spending a lot of money on at the time. One (or two) of the things I bought were madeleine tins. I have never before made madeleines, but they always look so adorable in the beautiful tea spreads that you see in magazines.

And...now I'm intimidated. Looking at recipes, it doesn't seem to be all that difficult, but do you have a halfway step that I could try before moving on to the madeleines? Or an easy recipe I can do using the tins?

Madeleine tins look like this:

Madeleines can be intimidating because they require a lot of folding and correct timing. They’re not too hard if you’re patient and thoughtful and the temperature in your kitchen is right and the temperature in your fridge is right, but sometimes you don’t want to have to get everything exactly right in order for a thing to come out okay.

The good news is that madeleine tins are really just molds. You don’t have to use a building the way it was initially imagined. You can gut a police precinct, empty it out, salt and scour the walls and floors, and give that land over to the people it never served. You can plant a community garden in the empty space where a statue used to stand. Ashes can enrich soil. The world is versatile, and the future doesn’t need to be defined by the monstrous architects who designed it.

Just because you don’t feel ready to make madeleines, that doesn’t mean you can’t do something significant with what you’ve got. The thing I love about this shape and size of tin is that it’s perfect for shaping small, nutrient-dense foods — the kind of thing people need when they’ve been stressed and active, when they’ve been shouting and running, when they’ve been held in unsafe conditions for extended periods. Those of us who can’t be on the front lines must seek opportunities to offer sanctuary, nourishment, and respite to those who are fighting for justice.

Anyway, here’s my favorite recipe for

No-Bake Protein Bites


Step One: Put a bunch of stuff in a bowl. At a minimum, you need a cup of rolled oats, a half-cup of nut butter, and a third of a cup of honey. This gives you structure. These ingredients offer structure, and they also offer three different kinds of energy. The sugar in the honey presents short-term energy; the nut butter, which has sugar and protein in it, presents longer-lasting energy; and the high-fiber, slow-digesting oats will keep that energy going in the long-term.

You need all three to be effective. Without a big burst of energy up front, it’s difficult to properly access and implement growth in the long run. Without stable, ongoing energy, that growth isn’t possible at all.

You can and should add more ingredients than this. I like to add chopped nuts, chocolate chunks, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flaxseed to mine. You can also add dried fruit, coconut, puffed rice — pretty much whatever you’ve got handy is going to be useful. Now is the time for creativity.

Step Two: Stir the stuff together. I don’t really have anything to add here. Stir it.

Step Three: Refrigerate. Fill your madeleine molds with the goop in the bowl, all the way to the top. Pack them tight. If you don’t have madeleine molds, you can just make an even layer in the bottom of a pan. You can also roll the goop into balls. Wear gloves and a mask if you’re going to be giving these to people who need them.

Refrigerate for at least a few hours, preferably overnight.

You did it! You made protein bites. Bag them up and deliver them to protestors along with clean water, filtration masks, and your unwavering, unconditional support.

Step Four: Do everything you can. Go to protests and stand up for change. Sign petitions, as many as you can. Text, call, and email demanding justice — there are templates at that link. Donate money, and if you don’t have money, click here to donate just by watching a video playlist, or click here to donate by playing a game. Subscribe to Fiyah, a brilliant speculative fiction magazine that features stories by and about Black people of the African diaspora.

Care for yourself and the people around you. Believe that the world can be better than it is now. Never give up.


If you have a pantry dilemma, send it to stonesoup.substack@gmail.com. If you’re enjoying this feature, leave a comment below or share it on social media. Stay safe, and if you can’t be safe, be brave.

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