When Donald was nine years old, growing up in New York City, his father, Don Rubbo, Sr., a pioneer in the Pop Art movement, saw that Donald had a keen interest in cooking, and inspired in him a life-long passion for the culinary arts.
Using the age-old Rock Soup story, Don Sr. brought to vivid life his joy in preparing food with love for his family.
(Rock Soup, also known as Stone Soup, is a timeless folk story of generosity and cooperation in the midst of scarcity.)
Donald's father was proudly half-Italian and half-Irish. He was a great story-teller, and confident in his talent (he’d say to anyone in earshot that he had the gift of gab.) His stories always inspired Donald and stirred his imagination, his words somehow triggered all of Donald's senses. Don Sr. was also a gifted cook and as he spoke, Donald recalls that he could actually hear pleasing sounds, smell delightful scents, taste sublime flavors and see bright, colorful images.
His father began by sending Donald out, through the streets of the Bronx, to find a rock. Miraculously, after several hours, by the railroad tracks near Yankee Stadium, Donald found the perfect rock, round, smooth and white. Then, Don Sr. took Donald to the produce trucks that brought vegetables into the city neighborhoods from outlying farms, and showed Donald how to pick the perfect vegetables by sight, smell and feel.
Back at the apartment, while telling Donald the Rock Soup story, Don Sr. showed him how to use a sharp knife, how to cut the vegetables, how to make a stock from the peelings, how to make mirepoix for deep, rich flavor, and to focus intently on the process itself and imbue everything one does with love.
The most important lesson Don Sr. taught his son, through teaching him the Rock Soup story and in so many other ways, was the importance of sharing what you have, pooling resources with others, to lift up and nurture, so that everyone may be fed and feel loved.
Donald's father taught Donald, at an early age, the lesson of feeding those who are hungry. Don Rubbo Sr. would cook big meals and invite some of the homeless off the street to feed them. The meal above was one of Don Rubbo Sr.'s "Rock Soup" dishes. Although money was always in short supply, that never stopped Donald's father from stretching the food as far as he could with whatever was available, and there was always plenty for everyone. He taught this abundant method of beingness and generosity to his son Donald.
Scriptural references to Salt:
Keep on having salt among yourselves, and live in peace with one another. Mark 9:50
You are the salt of the earth. Matthew 5:13
Let your conversations be always full of grace, seasoned with salt so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6