OK, what could be older than stew? Meat on a stick à la Homo erectus, probably. And then meat on hot rocks. Maybe even ground-grain-mixed-with-water on hot rocks. But after that: stew! Develop a hollowed-out rock, a bark cone, a large sea-shell saucer, a stone dish, or a clay bowl, and you can cook edible odds and ends in liquid.
- Chop an onion and pour a dribble of oil into a capacious pot. Fry the onion over low heat until it’s translucent and soft.
- If you want meat, add small chunks and cook gently, stirring until all sides are brown.
- Then add some chopped tomato and water. I usually use canned, diced tomato.
- I generally add a can of beans such as navy beans.
- While the meat (or tofu) is cooking and the tomato is heating, chop a couple of root vegetables into cubes. I usually use about four medium potatoes or two potatoes and two yams.
- Add a small amount of salt, pepper, and dried herbs (e.g. oregano, basil, or marjoram) if you like those things.
- Simmer until everything is hot and the root vegetables are tender.
Serve in bowls.
Refrigerate leftovers. You can take them out the next day, add some more water, throw in more foot, e.g. another kind of beans or some celery, and carry on indefinitely as the stew gets richer and more mysterious.